BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
CHAPTER 14: OF AVOIDING RASH JUDGMENT
TURN thine eyes back upon thyself, and see thou judge not the doings of others. In judging others a man toileth in vain; for the most part he is mistaken, and he easily sinneth; but judging and scrutinizing himself, he always laboreth with profit.
We often judge of a thing according as we have it at heart; for true judgment is easily lost through private affection.
If God were always the only object of our desire, we should not be easily disturbed at our own opinions being resisted.
2. But oftentimes there is something lying hid within, or occurring from without, that draws us along with it.
Many secretly seek themselves in what they do, and are not aware of it.
They seem also to continue in good peace, so long as things are done according to their will and judgment; but if aught happen otherwise than they desire, they are soon disturbed, and become sad.
Too often difference of feelings and opinions giveth rise to dissensions between friends and fellow-citizens, between religious and devout persons.
3. An inveterate habit is with difficulty relinquished, and no one is willingly led beyond his own views.
If thou reliest more on thine own reason or industry than on the subduing virtue of Jesus Christ, thou wilt seldom and with difficulty become an enlightened man.
For God willeth us to become perfectly subject to Himself, and by the love that burneth in us to transcend all reason.
WE frequently allow ourselves to be biased in our judgments by the inclinations of the heart, instead of being guided by the light of the understanding. Through self-love we ordinarily approve in ourselves what in others we frequently condemn; and are as much alive to the defects of our neighbor as we are blind to our own. A soul recollected in the presence of God, and faithful to the motions of His grace, being thus engaged with God, and united to Him, is solely occupied with God in itself and itself in God; and, endeavoring to keep a strict guard over its own heart, it forgives nothing in itself, and everything in others.
O MY God! When shall I be so free from all attachment to creatures, and from all self-seeking, as to keep my mind and my heart solely upon Thee, attentive to my duties and to securing my salvation? Grant, O Jesus, I may forget or be wholly ignorant of everything which I ought neither to know nor observe: and thus live only for Thee, with Thee, and in Thee. Vanities, pleasures, news, amusements, and curiosities, how little, or how really nothing are ye, to a soul for whom its God is its all! Suffer me not, O my Savior, to seek, to know, to love, or to possess anything but Thee, Who art more to me than all things else. Inflame my heart with an ardent desire of pleasing Thee, and an humble acquiescence in all things to Thy good pleasure. Amen.