BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
CHAPTER 16: THAT TRUE CONSOLATION IS TO BE SOUGHT IN GOD ALONE
WHATSOEVER I can desire or imagine for my comfort I look not for here, but hereafter. For if I alone should have all the comfort of this world, and might enjoy all its delights, certain it is they could not last long.
Wherefore thou canst not O my soul, be fully comforted nor perfectly refreshed, except in God, the comforter of the poor and the receiver of the humble.
Wait a little while, my soul, wait for the Divine promise, and thou wilt have abundance of all good things in Heaven.
If thou desirest too inordinately these present things, thou wilt lose those that are heavenly and eternal.
Use temporal things, but desire eternal.
Thou canst not be satisfied with any temporal goods, because thou wast not created for their enjoyment.
2. Although thou shouldst have all created goods, thou couldst not be happy and blessed; but in God, Who created all things, consists all thy beatitude and happiness.
Not such as is seen or praised by the foolish lovers of the world, but such as the good faithful of Christ await, and of which they that are spiritual and clean of heart, whose conversation is in Heaven, have sometimes a foretaste.
All human comfort is vain and short.
Blessed and true is that comfort which is derived inwardly from Truth.
A devout man everywhere carrieth about with him Jesus his Consoler; and saith to Him: Be with me, O Lord Jesus, in all places and at all times.
Let this be my consolation, to be freely willing to forego all human comfort.
And if Thy comfort be withdrawn, let Thy will and just trial be to me as the greatest of comforts.
For Thou wilt not always be angry, nor wilt Thou threaten forever.
GOD is the center of our hearts, says St. Augustine, and we cannot rest, till we rest in God-----that is, so long as we are attached to ourselves and to creatures, we seek happiness where it is not to be found, out of God. We should, therefore, withdraw our hearts from all that is not God, and die to all things else, if we would enjoy true happiness, which can only result from an entire dedication of our souls to God. Wherefore let us not say, with those of the world: Happy they who possess abundance of all things they desire, and want none of the goods and pleasures of the earth! Rather let us say: "Blessed is the heart for which God sufficeth! happy the Christian who loves that only now which he shall love forever!"
WHEN, O God, shall I become so detached from created objects, as to sigh only for the happiness of pleasing and loving Thee? When wilt Thou become more to me than all things else, all in all, even as Thou art to the blessed in Heaven? Grant that I may deny myself every gratification, and delight only in pleasing Thee. Pains, crosses, and afflictions shall be from henceforth the joy of my soul, or at least the subjects of my patience, because they have been consecrated by Thee, my Jesus! and it is Thy blessed will I should endure them. And if, as I deserve, Thou deprivest me of consolation, grant that humble submission may support me, whilst Thou hidest the light of Thy countenance. Amen.