BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
CHAPTER 7: OF THE LOVE OF JESUS ABOVE ALL THINGS
BLESSED is he who understandeth what it is to love Jesus, and to despise himself for the sake of Jesus.
We must leave what is beloved for the sake of the Beloved; for Jesus will be loved alone and above all things.
The love of things created is deceitful and inconstant; the love of Jesus is faithful and enduring.
He that clingeth to the creature shall fall with its falling.
He that embraceth Jesus shall be firmly rooted forever.
Love Him, and keep Him for thy friend, Who, when all forsake, will not leave thee, nor suffer thee to perish finally.
Sooner or later thou must be separated from all, whether thou wilt or no.
2. In life and in death keep thyself near to Jesus, and entrust thyself to His fidelity, Who alone can help thee when all others fail.
The nature of thy Beloved is such that He will not admit of a rival; but He will have thy heart for Himself alone, and sit as a king upon His Own throne.
If thou couldst empty thy heart of every creature, Jesus would willingly make His dwelling with thee.
Whatsoever thou reposest in men, out of Jesus, thou wilt find to be well nigh lost.
Trust not, nor lean upon a reed full of wind. "For all flesh is grass, and all the glory thereof shall fade like the flower of grass."
3. Thou wilt soon be deceived, if thou regard only the external appearance of men. Indeed, if thou seek in others thy comfort and thy profit, thou wilt more often meet with loss.
If in all things thou seekest Jesus, truly thou shalt find Jesus; but if thou seek thyself, thou shalt find thyself also, but to thine own ruin.
For if a man seek not Jesus, he doth himself more harm than the whole world and all his enemies can do him.
APPLY thy whole mind to know Jesus Christ, thy whole heart to love Him, and all thy care to follow Him, since for this alone thou art a Christian. What difficulty canst thou have in loving a Man-God, Who assumed humanity only for love of thee and for thy salvation! Be then resolved to study and to contemplate Him in all His actions, to penetrate into His designs, to enter into His dispositions and the purport of His mysteries; and endeavor to do, to suffer, and to live as He did; for the whole merit of a Christian in this life consists in conformity in all things with Jesus Christ; and, in the next, it will constitute his never-ending happiness. If he endeavor to participate here in the humble and suffering life of his Redeemer, he will hereafter partake of His glorious immortality.
AS, O Jesus, I can have no pretentions to Heaven but through Thy virtues and merit, I beseech Thee to inspire me with an ardent desire of knowing and following Thee. Grant, O my most amiable Savior, that I may follow Thy maxims, practice Thy virtues, and form myself upon Thine example, that my resemblance to Thee may make me worthy of Thy love, and cause me to find grace in the sight of Thy heavenly Father, Who loves us only in proportion as we resemble Thee. Help me then to become imbued with Thy sentiments, and conformed to Thine inclinations. Grant that, after Thine example, I may become meek, humble patient, charitable, and submissive in all things to Thy Father's will. I hope that, presenting myself to Him in and by Thee, I shall not be rejected, and that the attachment which I desire to have for Thee may secure Thy love for me, and my ultimate salvation. Amen.