BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
CHAPTER 10: OF SUPERFLUITY OF WORDS
FLY as much as possible the tumult of men; for the treating of worldly affairs is a great hindrance, even though they be discoursed of with a simple intention. For we are too easily contaminated and ensnared with vanity.
I would that many a time I had kept silence, and not been in company.
Why are we so fond of speaking and of talking idly together, when yet we seldom return to silence without some wound to conscience?
The reason why we are so fond of talking is, that we seek consolation from one another by much discoursing together; and we wish to lighten our heart, wearied with various thoughts.
And we are very fond of speaking and thinking of those things we very much love or wish for, or that we feel are a contradiction to us.
2. But, alas, it is often vainly and to no purpose; for this outward consolation is no small hindrance to the interior and Divine consolation.
Therefore we must watch and pray, lest the time pass away without fruit.
If thou hast leave to speak, and it is expedient, speak those things that may edify.
Evil custom and negligence about our spiritual advancement, contribute much to the unguardedness of our tongue.
But devout conferences upon spiritual things are no small help to spiritual progress-----especially where persons of congenial mind and spirit are associated together in God.
"WATCH and pray," is the simple means which Jesus Christ prescribes to enable a Christian to resist temptation, to avoid sin, and secure his salvation. To speak little to creatures and much to God, to renounce useless and curious conversations, to speak only what is good or necessary, is an excellent method of becoming an interior man, of preserving purity of heart, and peace of conscience, and of becoming entirely united to God. A soul which gives itself through the senses to creatures, and lives not an interior life, but amuses itself with trifles, is not at all in a state to relish the things of God or to apply to prayer or recollection, which are so useful and so necessary for salvation. Why, says St. Austin, why dost thou, O dissipated and wandering soul, seek content in created objects, in the goods and pleasures of life? Seek within thyself, by recollection, the only true and sovereign Good Who is there, and Who alone can satisfy thy desires.
GIVE me, O God, that spirit of interior recollection which will make me attentive to Thy holy Will and faithful to Thy graces. Grant that the remembrance of Thine awful presence may remind me continually of Thy blessed life and conversation, and effectually control me during my earthly pilgrimage. I am weary, O God, of living an exile from Thy presence, and of being so little affected by the consideration of Thy majesty as to do nothing to please Thee. What can I find in Heaven or on earth that is comparable to Thee? Thou art the God of my heart; grant I maybe ever sensible of Thy presence, and desire only the happiness of pleasing Thee, in time, that Thou mayest be my portion for eternity. Amen.