BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
CHAPTER 4: OF A PURE MIND AND A SIMPLE INTENTION
By two wings is man lifted above earthly things, viz., by simplicity
Simplicity must be in the intention, purity in the affection.
Simplicity aimeth at God, purity apprehendeth Him and tasteth Him.
No good work will be a hindrance to thee, provided thou be free interiorly from all inordinate affection.
If thou aim at and seek after nothing else but the will of God and thy neighbor's benefit, then shalt thou enjoy interior liberty.
If only thy heart were right, then every created thing would be to thee a mirror of life and a book of holy teaching.
There is no creature so little and so vile, that it showeth not forth the goodness of God.
2. If thou wert inwardly good and pure, then wouldst thou discern all things without impediment, and comprehend them well.
A pure heart penetrates Heaven and Hell.
According as every one is interiorly, so doth he judge exteriorly.
If there be joy in the world, truly the man of pure heart possesseth it.
And if there be anywhere tribulation and distress, an evil conscience doth the more readily experience it.
As iron cast into the fire loses its rust, and becomes all bright with burning, so the man that turneth himself wholly to God is divested of all sloth, and changed into a new man.
3. When a man beginneth to grow lukewarm, then he is afraid of a little labor, and willingly receiveth exterior consolation.
But when he beginneth perfectly to overcome himself, and to walk manfully in the way of God, then he maketh little account of things that before seemed to him grievous.
PURITY of heart consists in detachment, from everything that can defile it. A voluntary fault, an unguarded glance of the eye, a turning away from God, imprint a blemish upon the soul which defaces its beauty, and disfigures it in the sight of God. "Blessed," says Jesus Christ, "are the clean of heart, for they shall see God." They shall know Him, by a lively and experimental faith in this life, which shall enable them to support the invisible things of God as though they were present to their sight; and in the next life they shall see Him by the light of His glory. We must, therefore, be determined, as far as we are able, not to commit any known sin, much less to contract a habit of any that can sully the purity of the soul and make it a slave to self-love, endear it to the pleasures of sense, and render it incapable of elevating itself towards God. We must, moreover, in order to obtain this purity of heart, incessantly ask it of God, saying with the Psalmists, "Create a clean heart in me, O God, and renew a right spirit within my bowels;" that is, a pure intention, by which I may seek only to please Thee in and before all things. In a word, we must be attached to nothing but God and His holy will; for all attachment to creatures tarnishes the beauty of the soul and renders it incapable and unworthy of being united with its God.
O JESUS, WHO hast so strongly recommended us, in the Gospel, to become humble, and simple as little children, if we would enter into the kingdom of Heaven, grant us that state of holy and spiritual infancy; and the simplicity of mind and purity of heart, which may make us worthy of Thy love. Amen.