BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
CHAPTER 12: OF ACQUIRING PATIENCE, AND OF STRIVING AGAINST CONCUPISCENCE
O LORD God, patience, as I perceive, is very necessary for me, for many adverse things happen to us in this life.
For in whatsoever way I may arrange for my peace, my life cannot be without war and sorrow.
2. My son, so it is; for I would not have thee seek for such a peace as to have no temptations, or to feel no adversity; but then, indeed, think thou hast found peace, when thou shalt be exercised in divers tribulations, and tried in much adversity.
If thou shalt say thou art not able to suffer much, how then wilt thou endure the fire of Purgatory?
Of two evils, one ought always to choose the less.
That thou mayst, therefore, escape the future eternal punishment, endeavor patiently to endure present evils for God's sake.
Thinkest thou that men of the world suffer nothing or but little? Thou shalt not find it so, though thou seek out the most voluptuous.
3. But sayest thou, they follow after many delights, and withal their own will, and therefore make small account of their tribulations?
4. Be it so, that they have all they desire; but how long thinkest thou this will last?
Behold, as smoke shall they vanish that abound in this world, and there shall be no remembrance of their past joys.
Nay, even whilst they live, they rest not in the possession of them without bitterness, weariness, and fear.
From the very same thing whence they conceive delight, thence frequently do they derive the penalty of anguish.
It is just with them it should be so, that since they seek and follow inordinately their pleasures, they should not enjoy them without confusion and bitterness.
Oh, how short, how deceitful, how inordinate and shameful are all these pleasures!
Yet, through sottishness and blindness, men understand this not, but, like dumb animals, for the poor pleasures of this mortal life they incur the death of the soul.
But thou, my son, go not after thy concupiscence, but turn away from thine own will.
Delight in the Lord, and He will give thee the desires of thy heart.
5. For if thou wouldst in truth taste of delight and be abundantly comforted by Me, behold, in the contempt of all things worldly, and in the cutting off of every sordid gratification, shall thy blessing be, and consolation most abundant be rendered to thee.
And the more thou withdrawest thyself from all solace of creatures, the sweeter and the more powerful consolations wilt thou find in Me.
But thou shalt not attain to these at first without some sorrow and labor of conflict.
Long-standing custom will make resistance, but by a better habit shall it be subdued.
The flesh will complain, but by fervor of spirit shall it be reined in.
The old serpent will instigate thee, and trouble thee anew; but by prayer he shall be put to flight; moreover, by useful employment his greater access to thee shall be prevented.
TRUE peace of soul consists in an humble and constant submission to the will of God under the severest pains and the most violent temptations. When thou findest within thyself nothing but repugnance, trouble, and despondency, it is then that by renouncing thyself, and giving thyself entirely into the hands of God, thou wilt obtain true peace of soul. To separate thyself from everything pleasing, to accept everything that is disagreeable as coming from the hand of God, to conquer on all occasions thy repugnance, is the surest way to arrive at true peace.
THOU alone, O Jesus, canst impart to us this Interior peace, this peace of God, this ineffable peace, and this humble submission. We ask it of Thee, and we hope it from Thee. Give us this precious gift, we beseech Thee, which may keep our minds and our hearts in Thy faith and love. Amen.