BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
21: THAT WE ARE TO REST IN GOD ABOVE ALL GOODS AND GIFTS
ABOVE all things, and in all things, do thou, my soul, rest
always in the Lord, for He is the eternal rest of the Saints.
Give me, O most sweet and loving Jesus, to repose in Thee above all
things created; above all health and beauty; above all glory and honor;
above all power and dignity; above all knowledge and subtlety; above
all riches and arts; above all joy and gladness; above all fame and
praise; above all sweetness and consolation; above all hope and
promise; above all merit and desire; above all gifts and presents that
Thou canst give and infuse; above all joy and jubilation that the mind
can contain or feel; in fine, above all Angels and Archangels, and all
the host of Heaven; above all things visible and invisible; and above
all that is not Thee, my God; for Thou, O Lord my God, art supremely
good above all things.
2. Thou alone art most high; Thou alone most powerful; Thou alone most
full and most sufficient; Thou alone most sweet and most full of
Thou alone most beautiful and most loving; Thou alone most noble and
most glorious above all things; in Whom are all that are both good and
perfect, and always have been and always will be.
And therefore all is too little and insufficient, whatever Thou
bestowest upon me, that is not Thyself; and whatever Thou revealeth to
me concerning Thyself, or promiseth, as long as I see Thee not, nor
fully possess Thee: because indeed my heart cannot truly rest, nor be
entirely contented, till it rest in Thee, and transcend every gift and
3. O my most beloved Spouse, Christ Jesus, most pure Lover, Lord of the
whole creation! Who will give me wings of true liberty, to fly and
repose in Thee?
Oh, when shall it be fully granted me to be free, and to see how sweet
Thou art, O Lord my God?
When shall I fully collect myself in Thee, that through Thy love I may
not feel myself, but Thee alone, above all feeling and measure, in a
manner not known to all?
But now I often lament, and bear with grief my unhappiness.
Because many evils happen in this vale of miseries, which frequently
disturb me, afflict me, and cast a cloud over me; often do they hinder
and distract me, allure and entangle me, so that I can neither have
free access to Thee, nor enjoy Thy sweet embraces, which are ever
present to blessed spirits.
Oh, let my sighs move Thee, and this my manifold desolation upon earth.
4. O Jesus, brightness of eternal glory, comfort of the pilgrim soul,
with Thee is my mouth without voice, and my silence speaketh to Thee.
How long doth my Lord delay to come? Let Him come to me, His poor
servant, and make me joyful. Let Him stretch forth His hand, and
deliver me, wretched, from all anguish.
Come, oh, come, for without Thee I can never have one joyful day nor
hour; for Thou art my joy, and without Thee my table is empty.
I am miserable, and in a manner imprisoned and weighed down with
fetters, till with the light of Thy presence Thou comfortest me, givest
me liberty, and showest me Thy friendly countenance.
5. Let others seek, instead of Thee, whatever else they please; but
nothing else meanwhile doth or shall please me, but Thou, my God, my
hope, my eternal salvation.
I will not hold my peace, nor will I cease to pray, till Thy grace
return, and Thou sayest interiorly to me:
6. Behold, here I am; behold, I come to thee, because thou hast
Thy tears, and the desire of thy soul, thy humiliation and contrition
of heart, have inclined and brought Me to thee.
7. And I said, O Lord I have called upon Thee, and have desired to
enjoy Thee, and I am prepared to reject all things for Thy sake.
For Thou didst first stir me up that I should seek Thee.
Be Thou therefore blessed, O Lord, Who hath showed this goodness to Thy
servant, according to the multitude of Thy mercies.
What more hath Thy servant to say in Thy presence but to humble himself
exceedingly before Thee, mindful always of his own iniquity and
For there is none like unto Thee amongst all the wonders of Heaven and
Thy works are exceedingly good, Thy judgments true, and by Thy
providence the universe is ruled.
Praise, therefore, and glory be to Thee, O Wisdom of the Father; let my
tongue, my soul, and all things created, join in praising and blessing
WE should prefer God before all things-----that
is, we should labor to forsake and renounce ourselves in all things,
die to all self-satisfaction, and deny ourselves many lawful pleasures,
to punish ourselves for having indulged in those which are criminal. We
should submit, give up, and immolate ourselves to God, rise superior to
all created things, direct our hearts towards Him, and lose ourselves
in His perfections; keep ourselves in a state of sovereign and interior
adoration, to which all should yield; and by our actions, by the
sacrifice of everything that is dear to us, establish Him the absolute
Master and God of our hearts. To love God, so as to delight only in
Him, is indeed a heaven upon earth, and, as it were, a foretaste of a
happy eternity; but to arrive at this, we must disengage ourselves from
those amusements of the mind which dissipate and withdraw it from God,
and from those attachments of the heart which bind it to creatures;
that so the soul, being free from itself and from the servitude of the
passions, may take the wings of the dove, fly away towards God, and
repose in Him alone.
My God, my sovereign good, and only consolation, how dare I
raise myself towards Thee, draw Thee to myself, and firmly unite myself
to Thee-----I who am filled, penetrated, and loaded with
so many miseries, irregular inclinations towards evil, and continual
repugnance to good-----I
who am every moment falling from Thee to myself, and from myself into
a word, I who meet with so many obstacles within myself, which, like a
wall of separation, would hinder me from being united to Thee? But
what, O Lord, is impossible to me is easy to Thee; in Thy power and
bounty I place all my hopes. Thou knowest my condition, and if Thou
wilt Thou canst assist me. I groan incessantly under the load of my
infirmities. I address myself to Thee, to be delivered from them by Thy
mercy. I find no rest, nor content, nor happiness but in and by Thee.
Come then, O God, give consolation and support to my soul, which
desires only Thee, to live only by and for its God. I languish and am
on fire with the desire of possessing Thee without the fear of ever
losing Thee. Reject me not, O infinitely amiable God! for I can no
longer live separated and removed ut a distance from Thee. Amen.