BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
CHAPTER 13: OF THE OBEDIENCE OF A HUMBLE SUBJECT,
AND THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS CHRIST
SON, he who striveth to withdraw himself from obedience withdraweth himself from grace; and he that seeketh particular privileges loseth such as are in common.
He who doth not freely and willingly submit himself to his superior, it is a sign that his flesh is not as yet perfectly obedient to him, but oftentimes rebelleth and murmereth.
Learn, then, to submit thyself readily to thy superior, if thou desire to subdue thine own flesh. For sooner is the exterior enemy overcome, if the inward man be not laid waste.
There is not a more troublesome or worse enemy to the soul than thou thyself art when not well agreeing with the spirit.
Thou must in good earnest conceive a true contempt of thyself, if thou wilt prevail against flesh and blood.
Because as yet thou lovest thyself too inordinately, therefore dost thou fear to resign thyself entirely to the will of others.
2. But what great matter is it, if thou who art but dust and a mere nothing, submit thyself to man for God's sake, when I, the Almighty and the Most High, Who created all things out of nothing, have for thy sake humbly subjected Myself to man?
I became the most humble and most abject of all men, that thou mightest overcome thy pride by My humility.
Learn, O dust, to obey; learn to humble thyself, earth and clay, and to bow under the feet of all.
Learn to break thine own will, and to yield thyself up to all subjection.
3. Kindle wrath against thyself; suffer not the swelling of pride to live in thee; but show thyself so submissive and little that all may trample on thee, and tread thee under their feet as the dirt of the streets.
What hast thou, vain man, to complain of?
What answer, wretched sinner, canst thou make to those that reproach thee-----thou who hast so often offended God, and so very many times deserved Hell?
But Mine eye hath spared thee, because thy soul was precious in My sight; that thou mightest know My love, and mightest always live thankful for My favors; and that thou mightest continually give thyself to true subjection and humility, and bear patiently thine own contempt.
WE must not be satisfied with exteriorly submitting to obedience and in things that are easy, but we must obey with our whole heart, and in things the most difficult. For the greater the difficulty, the greater also is the merit of obedience. Can we refuse to submit to man for God's sake, when God, for love of us, submits to man, even to His very executioners?
Jesus Christ was willingly obedient during His whole life, and even unto the death of the Cross; and am I unwilling to spend my life in the exercise of obedience, and to make it my cross and my merit? Independence belongs to God, who has made man dependent upon others, that his subordination may be to him the means of his sanctification. I will therefore form myself upon the model of my submissive, dependent, and obedient Savior, and dispose of nothing in myself, not even of my own will.
O MY Savior, Who, in obedience to Thy Father, wast conceived in the womb of Mary, Who didst go down to Nazareth, and wast subject to Thy parents for thirty years, Who wouldst be born, and live, and die in obedience, induce us to follow Thine example, to obey Thee in all things in the persons of our superiors, wbo bold Thy place in our regard. Grant that, doing willingly what is ordained us, and endeavoring to believe it best, we may spend our whole I lives in continual obedience, and thus secure for ourselves Thy grace in time, and Thy glory for all eternity. Amen.