BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
CHAPTER 12: OF THE ADVANTAGE OF ADVERSITY
IT is good for us now and then to have some troubles and adversities; for oftentimes they make a man enter into himself, that he may know that he is an exile, and place not his hopes in anything of the world.
It is good for us sometimes to suffer contradictions, and to allow people to think ill and slightingly of us, even when we do and mean well.
These are often helps to humility, and rid us of vain glory.
For then we more earnestly seek God to be witness of what passes within us, when outwardly we are slighted by men, and incur their discredit.
2. Therefore ought a man so firmly to establish himself in God, as to have no need of seeking many human consolations.
When a man of good will is troubled, tempted, or afflicted with evil thoughts, then he best understandeth what need he hath of God, and that without Him he is incapable of any good.
Then also is he sorrowful; he sigheth and prayeth by reason of the miseries he suffereth.
Then is he weary of longer life; and wisheth death to come, that he may be dissolved, and be with Christ.
Then also he well perceiveth, that perfect security and full peace cannot be realized in this world.
WE should regard contradictions as the trials by which God would prove and purify our charity. If all persons had the consideration and regard for us which our self-love desires, and which it often induces us to believe we deserve, we should entertain only a natural regard for our neighbor, subject to the caprices of humor, a species of gratitude purely human, and a secret complacency in ourselves. But God would have us everywhere meet with and suffer contradictions, disappointments, and opposition to our designs, from those with whom we live, that so we may love them solely for His sake, and because He so ordained. Happy the soul which tribulation tries, and temptation purifies, as gold is tried and purified in the fire! It thus becomes worthy of acceptance with God, for it is after God's own heart.
SUPPORT me, O Lord, under all the troubles and contradictions which Thou permittest to befall me and willest I should suffer that they may not weaken my charity for my neighbor, nor my fidelity towards Thee. Grant that temptations, far from separating me from Thee, may unite me more closely to Thee, by obliging me to experience a continual and pressing need of Thy powerful assistance. Amen.