Saturday, January 10, 2015

Of the exaltation of a free spirit, which humble prayer more deserveth than doth frequent reading. The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis. Book 3, Chapter 26


Chapter 26: 
Of the exaltation of a free spirit, which humble prayer more deserveth than doth frequent reading.

Lord, this is the work of a perfect man, never to slacken his
mind from attention to heavenly things, and among many cares to
pass along as it were without care, not after the manner of one
indifferent, but rather with the privilege of a free mind,
cleaving to no creature with inordinate affection.
I beseech Thee, my most merciful Lord God, preserve me from
the cares of this life, lest I become too much entangled; from
many necessities of the body, lest I be taken captive by
pleasure; from all obstacles of the spirit, lest I be broken and
cast down with cares. I say not from those things which the
vanity of the world goeth about after with all eagerness, but
from those miseries, which by the universal curse of mortality
weigh down and hold back the soul of thy servant in punishment,
that it cannot enter into liberty of spirit, so often as it
O my God, sweetness unspeakable, turn into bitterness all my
fleshly consolation, which draweth me away from the love of
eternal things, and wickedly allureth toward itself by setting
before me some present delight. Let not, O my God, let not flesh
and blood prevail over me, let not the world and its short glory
deceive me, let not the devil and his craftiness supplant me.
Give me courage to resist, patience to endure, constancy to
persevere. Grant, in place of all consolations of the world, the
most sweet unction of Thy Spirit, and in place of carnal love,
pour into me the love of Thy Name.
Behold, food and drink and clothing, and all the other needs
appertaining to the support of the body, are burdensome to the
devout spirit. Grant that I may use such things with moderation,
and that I be not entangled with inordinate affection for them.
To cast away all these things is not lawful, because nature must
be sustained, but to require superfluities and things which
merely minister delight, the holy law forbiddeth; for otherwise
the flesh would wax insolent against the spirit. In all these
things, I beseech Thee, let Thy hand guide and teach me, that I
in no way exceed.

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