BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
CHAPTER 8: OF FAMILIAR FRIENDSHIP WITH JESUS
WHEN Jesus is present all is well, and nothing seems difficult; but when Jesus is absent, everything is hard.
When Jesus speaketh not within, consolation is little worth; but if Jesus speaks only one word, we feel great consolation.
Did not Mary Magdalen instantly rise up from the place where she wept, when Martha said to her: "The Master is come, and calleth for thee?"
Happy hour, when Jesus calleth thee from tears to joy of spirit.
How dry and hard art thou without Jesus! How foolish and vain, if thou desire anything out of Jesus!
Is not this a greater loss to thee than if thou shouldst lose the whole world?
2. What can the world give thee without Jesus?
To be without Jesus is a grievous Hell; to be with Jesus a sweet Paradise.
If Jesus be with thee, no foe can harm thee.
Whoever findeth Jesus, findeth a good treasure-----yea, a good above every good.
And he that loseth Jesus loseth much-----yea, more than the whole world.
He that liveth without Jesus is in wretched poverty; and he who is with Jesus is most rich.
3. It is a great art to know how to converse with Jesus; and to know how to keep Jesus is great wisdom.
Be humble and peaceable, and Jesus will be with thee.
Be devout and calm, and Jesus will abide with thee.
Thou mayst soon drive away Jesus, and lose His grace, if thou wilt turn aside after outward things.
And if thou drive Him from thee and lose Him, to whom wilt thou fly? and whom, then, wilt thou seek for thy friend?
Without a friend, thou canst not live happily; and if Jesus be not a friend to thee above all, thou wilt indeed be sad and desolate.
Thou dost foolishly, therefore, to trust in any other, or to rejoice in any
We ought rather to choose to have the whole world against us than to offend Jesus.
Of all, therefore, that are dear to thee, let Jesus be thy special beloved.
4. Let all be loved for Jesus' sake, but Jesus for His Own sake.
Jesus Christ alone is singly to be loved; for He alone is found good and faithful above all friends.
For His sake, and in Him, let enemies as well as friends be dear to thee; and for all these thou must pray to Him, that all may know and love Him.
Never desire to be singly praised or beloved; for this belongeth to God alone, Who hath none like unto Himself.
Neither desire that anyone's heart should be much taken up with thee; nor do thou be much taken up with the love of anyone; but let Jesus be in thee, and in every good man.
5. Be pure and free interiorly, without being entangled by any creature.
Thou must be naked and bear a pure heart towards God, if thou wilt be free, and experience how sweet the Lord is.
And, indeed, thou wilt never attain to this, unless thou be prevented and drawn by His grace, that so thou mayst be united to Him alone, when thou hast cast out and dismissed all others.
For when the grace of God cometh to a man, then is he powerful for all things; and when it departeth, then is he poor and weak, and left only, as it were, to scourgings.
In these circumstances, he must not be dejected nor despair; but calmly remain, awaiting the will of God, and bear, for the glory of Jesus Christ, whatever shall befall him: because, after the winter cometh summer, after the night the day returneth, after the storm cometh a great calm.
IT is difficult to live without some one to whom we can open our hearts and confide our secrets. But to whom can we better disclose them than to Jesus, Who, more than all others, is a friend the most faithful, the most constant, and the most worthy of our confidence! Seek, therefore, in Him alone thy consolation and thy peace; lay open thy heart incessantly before Him; have recourse to Him in all thy troubles: and be not discouraged if He seem to hide His countenance, for this is only the effect of His love towards thee, and the trial of thy fidelity towards Him. Pray, entreat, and conjure Him in His bounty to assist thee; and be assured that, sooner or later, thou wilt experience the effects of His goodness. Preserve thy heart free for Him, and detached from every creature: love Him for the sake of His Own infinite perfections; and love all things else only as they lead thee to Him and to His love. Let pains, injuries, sorrows, and humiliations become as welcome to thee as they were to Jesus Christ; and let the esteem and the praises of men be to thee objects of dread and contempt, because they were so to Him. In a word, accustom thyself to know Him, to speak to Him, to love Him, and seek to please Him in all things, that, living thus in the exercise of His love, the last motion of thy heart may be an act of the love of thy dearest Redeemer.
As Thy love for me, O Jesus, is a prevenient love, and as Thou makest me worthy of Thy love, by first loving me, attract and gain my heart, and confirm it in Thy love. Grant that, detached from all things, and uninfluenced by the allurements of self-love, I may breathe only Thy love; that I may be engaged with Thee alone, and attentive only to Thee, and neither seek nor love anything but Thee alone, in all things. Be Thou, my most amiable Savior, the reigning object and sovereign good of my soul. Grant that, animated by Thy spirit, formed upon Thy example, faithful to Thy graces, and obedient to Thy orders, I may live for Thee, from Thee, and like Thee, in order to commence that occupation on earth which I hope to continue in Heaven, which is to possess and to love Thee. Amen.