Sunday, May 8, 2016

How a desolate man ought to commit himself into the hands of God. The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis. Book 3, Chapter 50


Chapter 50: How a desolate man ought to commit himself into the hands of God.

O Lord, Holy Father, be Thou blessed now and evermore; because as
Thou wilt so it is done, and what Thou doest is good. Let Thy
servant rejoice in Thee, not in himself, nor in any other;
because Thou alone art the true joy, Thou art my hope and my
crown, Thou art my joy and my honour, O Lord. What hath Thy
servant, which he received not from Thee, even without merit of
his own? Thine are all things which Thou hast given, and which
Thou hast made. I am poor and in misery even from my youth
up, and my soul is sorrowful unto tears, sometimes also it is
disquieted within itself, because of the sufferings which are
coming upon it.
I long after the joy of peace; for the peace of Thy children
do I beseech, for in the light of Thy comfort they are fed by
Thee. If Thou give peace, if Thou pour into me holy joy, the
soul of Thy servant shall be full of melody, and devout in Thy
praise. But if Thou withdraw Thyself as too often Thou art wont,
he will not be able to run in the way of Thy commandments, but
rather he will smite his breast and will bow his knees; because
it is not with him as yesterday and the day before, when Thy
candle shined upon his head, and he walked under the shadow of
Thy wings, from the temptations which beset him.
O Father, righteous and ever to be praised, the hour cometh
when Thy servant is to be proved. O beloved Father, it is well
that in this hour Thy servant suffer somewhat for Thy sake. O
Father, evermore to be adored, as the hour cometh which Thou
foreknewest from everlasting, when for a little while Thy servant
should outwardly bow down, but always live inwardly with Thee;
when for a little while he should be little regarded, humbled,
and fail in the eyes of men; should be wasted with sufferings and
weaknesses, to rise again with Thee in the dawn of the new light,
and be glorified in the heavenly places. O Holy Father, thou
hast ordained it so, and so hast willed it; and that is done
which Thou Thyself hast commanded.
For this is Thy favour to Thy friend, that he should suffer
and be troubled in the world for Thy love’s sake, how often
soever, and by whomsoever and whosoever Thou hast suffered it to
be done. Without Thy counsel and providence, and without cause,
nothing cometh to pass on the earth. It is good for me, Lord,
that I had been in trouble, that I may learn Thy statutes,
and may cast away all pride of heart and presumption. It is
profitable for me that confusion hath covered my face, that I may
seek to Thee for consolation rather than unto men. By this also
I have learned to dread Thine unsearchable judgment, who
afflictest the just with the wicked, but not without equity and
Thanks be unto Thee, because Thou hast not spared my sins, but
hast beaten me with stripes of love, inflicting pains, and
sending troubles upon me without and within. There is none who
can console me, of all things which are under heaven, but Thou
only, O Lord my God, Thou heavenly Physician of souls, who dost
scourge and hast mercy, who leadest down to hell and bringest up
again. Thy discipline over me, and Thy rod itself shall teach
Behold, O beloved Father, I am in Thy hands, I bow myself
under the rod of Thy correction. Smite my back and my neck that
I may bend my crookedness to Thy will. Make me a pious and lowly
disciple, as Thou wert wont to be kind, that I may walk according
to every nod of Thine. To Thee I commend myself and all that I
have for correction; better is it to be punished here than
hereafter. Thou knowest all things and each of them; and nothing
remaineth hid from Thee in man’s conscience. Before they are,
thou knowest that they will be, and Thou needest not that any man
teach Thee or admonish Thee concerning the things which are done
upon the earth. Thou knowest what is expedient for my profit,
and how greatly trouble serveth unto the scrubbing off the rust
of sin. Do with me according to Thy desired good pleasure, and
despise not my life which is full of sin, known to none so
entirely and fully as to Thee alone.
Grant me, O Lord, to know that which ought to be known; to
love that which ought to be loved; to praise that which pleaseth
Thee most, to esteem that which is precious in Thy sight, to
blame that which is vile in Thine eyes. Suffer me not to judge
according to the sight of bodily eyes, nor to give sentence
according to the hearing of the ears of ignorant men; but to
discern in true judgment between visible and spiritual things,
and above all things to be ever seeking after the will of Thy
good pleasure.
Oftentimes the senses of men are deceived in judging; the
lovers of the world also are deceived in that they love only
visible things. What is a man better because by man he is
reckoned very great? The deceiver deceiveth the deceiver, the
vain man the vain, the blind man the blind, the weak man the
weak, when they exalt one another; and in truth they rather put
to shame, while they foolishly praise. For as humble St. Francis
saith, “What each one is in Thine eyes, so much he is, and no

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