Monday, January 12, 2015

That personal love greatly hindereth from the highest good. The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis. Book 3, Chapter 27


Chapter 27: That personal love greatly hindereth from the highest good.

“My Son, thou must give all for all, and be nothing of thine own.
Know thou that the love of thyself is more hurtful to thee than
anything in the world. According to the love and inclination
which thou hast, everything more or less cleaveth to thee. If
thy love be pure, sincere, well-regulated, thou shalt not be in
captivity to anything. Do not covet what thou mayest not have;
do not have what is able to hinder thee, and to rob thee of
inward liberty. It is wonderful that thou committest not thyself
to Me from the very bottom of thy heart, with all things which
thou canst desire or have.
“Why art thou consumed with vain sorrow? Why art thou wearied
with superfluous cares? Stand thou by My good pleasure, and thou
shalt suffer no loss. If thou seekest after this or that, and
wilt be here or there, according to thine own advantage or the
fulfilling of thine own pleasure, thou shalt never be in quiet,
nor free from care, because in everything somewhat will be found
lacking, and everywhere there will be somebody who opposeth thee.
“Therefore it is not gaining or multiplying of this thing or
that which advantageth thee, but rather the despising it and
cutting it by the root out of thy heart; which thou must not only
understand of money and riches, but of the desire after honour
and vain praise, things which all pass away with the world. The
place availeth little if the spirit of devotion is wanting; nor
shall that peace stand long which is sought from abroad, if the
state of thy heart is without the true foundation, that is, if it
abide not in Me. Thou mayest change, but thou canst not better
thyself; for when occasion ariseth and is accepted thou shalt
find what thou didst fly from, yea more.”

Strengthen me, O God, by the grace of Thy Holy Spirit. Give
me virtue to be strengthened with might in the inner man, and to
free my heart from all fruitless care and trouble, and that I be
not drawn away by various desires after any things whatsoever,
whether of little value or great, but that I may look upon all as
passing away, and myself as passing away with them; because there
is no profit under the sun, and all is vanity and vexation of
spirit. Oh how wise is he that considereth thus!
Give me, O Lord, heavenly wisdom, that I may learn to seek
Thee above all things and to find Thee; to relish Thee above all
things and to love Thee; and to understand all other things, even
as they are, according to the order of Thy wisdom. Grant me
prudently to avoid the flatterer, and patiently to bear with him
that opposeth me; for this is great wisdom, not to be carried
by every wind of words, nor to give ear to the wicked flattering
Siren; for thus do we go safely on in the way we have begun.

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