BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
CHAPTER 1: OF THE INTERNAL DISCOURSE OF CHRIST
TO A FAITHFUL SOUL
I WILL hear what the Lord God will speak in me.
Happy is the soul which heareth the Lord speaking within her, and receiveth from His mouth the word of comfort.
Happy ears which receive the breathings of the Divine whisper, and take not notice of the whisperings of this world.
Happy ears indeed which hearken not to the voice that soundeth without, but to the Truth itself teaching within.
Happy eyes which are shut to outward things, but intent on things internal.
Happy they who penetrate into internal things, and endeavor to prepare themselves more and more by daily exercises for the receiving of heavenly secrets.
Happy they who rejoice to be wholly intent on God, and who shake off every worldly impediment.
Consider these things, O my soul, and close up the doors of thy sensual desires; that thou mayst hear what the Lord thy God speaketh within thee.
2. Thus saith thy Beloved: "I am thy salvation, thy peace, and thy life.
"Keep thyself with Me, and thou shalt find peace."
Let go all transitory things: seek the eternal.
What are all things temporal but seductive snares? And what avail all created things, if thou be forsaken by the Creator?
Cast off, then, all earthly things, and make thyself pleasing to thy Creator, and faithful to Him, that so thou mayst lay hold on true happiness.
THE soul disposes itself to hear what the Lord speaks to its interior, when, devoted to retirement, silence, and prayer, loving to be alone with its God, and seeking Him in itself, by a lively and reverential faith, it is attentive and faithful to the motions of His grace, to the interior influence of His presence, and to the attractions of His love. Thus, to maintain a spirit of recollection and of faithful love, ever to keep the mind attentive to the will of God, and the heart resolved to accomplish it, is effectually to dispose ourselves to hear God, and to receive the most intimate communications of His Spirit. God speaks to us incessantly by His inspirations, and the holy views He imparts to us, to engage us to die to ourselves, and to live only to Him. But either we do not hearken to Him, or it is only in a careless manner. When the soul is wholly given to the senses, agitated by the passions, and entirely taken up with exterior things, it is itself incapable and unworthy of the operations of God. We should, therefore, resolve to think and to speak but little to creatures, and to love silence and retirement, to nourish our minds with God's presence, and our hearts with His love, and to do all for Him and in His sight, if we would become interior men living in God, and for God, as every Christian should do who would be saved.
WEARIED with the demands of my senses, the tumult of my passions, and the inefficacy of my desires, I come to Thee, O Jesus, earnestly to implore Thee to recall my mind and my heart to their center, which is Thy presence and Thy love. I can no longer endure to live without Thee, my God; I can no longer remain a fugitive from Thy presence, nor banish myself from Thy heart. Ah! how frequently do my soul and the objects which surround me demand: "Where is thy God?" Everything speaks to me of Thee; yet nothing brings me to Thee. Thou art within me, and I seek Thee in exterior things, which dissipate my mind and remove me at a distance from Thee. O Life of my soul! the Center of my heart! the supreme and sovereign Object of my mind! When shall I see what I now believe? When shall I possess what I love? Grant that the moment Thy presence strikes my mind, all within my heart may fall prostrate and yield entirely to Thee. Amen.