BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
CHAPTER 23: OF FOUR THINGS WHICH BRING MUCH PEACE
SON, now will I teach thee the way of peace and of true liberty.
2. Do, Lord, as Thou sayest, for I shall be very glad to hear it.
3. Study, My son, to do rather the will of another than thine own.
Ever choose rather to have less than more.
Always seek the lowest place, and to be subject to every one.
Desire always and pray that the will of God may be entirely fulfilled in thee.
Behold, such a one entereth within the borders of peace and rest.
4. Lord, this Thy short address containeth in itself much perfection.
It is short in words, but full in meaning, and abounding in fruit.
If I could but faithfully observe it, I should not be so easily troubled.
For as often as I find myself disquieted and disturbed, I am sensible it is because I have gone back from this doctrine.
But Thou, O Lord, Who canst do all things, and always lovest the profit of the soul, increase in me a greater grace, that I may fulfill this Thy word and accomplish my salvation.
A Prayer against evil thoughts.
5. O Lord my God, depart not far from me; O my God, have regard to help me; for divers evil thoughts have risen up against me, and great fears afflict my soul.
How shall I pass through them without hurt? how shall I break them in pieces?
6. I, saith He, will go before thee, and will humble the great ones of the earth.
I will open the gates of the prison, and will reveal to thee hidden secrets.
7. Do, Lord, as Thou gayest, and let all wicked thoughts fly from before Thy face.
This is my hope and my only comfort; to fly to Thee in all tribulations, to confide in Thee, to call on Thee from my inmost heart, and patiently to expect Thy consolation.
A Prayer for the enlightening of the mind.
8. Enighten me O good Jesus; the brightness of internal light; and draw off all darkness from the dwelling of my heart.
Restrain my many wandering thoughts, and destroy the temptations that violently assault me.
Fight strongly for me, and overcome these evil beasts-----I mean, these alluring concupiscences-----that peace may be made in Thy power, and the abundance of Thy praise may resound in Thy holy court-----that is, in a clean conscience.
Command the winds and storms; say to the sea, Be still; to the north wind, Blow thou not; and there shall be a great calm.
9. Send forth Thy light and Thy truth, that they may shine upon the earth; for I am an earth that is empty and void, till Thou enlightenest me.
Poor forth Thy grace from above; water my heart with the dew of Heaven; supply fresh waters of devotion, to irrigate the face of the earth, to bring forth good and perfect fruit.
Lift up my mind, oppressed with the load of sins, and raise my whole desires towards heavenly things; that having tasted the sweetness of supernal happiness, I may have no pleasure in thinking of the things of earth.
10. Snatch me away, and rescue me from all unstable comfort of creatures; for no created thing can fully quiet and satisfy my desire.
Join me to Thyself with an inseparable bond of love; for Thou alone art sufficient for the soul that loveth Thee, and without Thee all other things are frivolous.
As no one can escape the sight or the justice of God, so we should, in the first place, keep a continual watch over ourselves; secondly, we should never allow ourselves anything that may displease God; thirdly, we should walk always in His presence, and do all things with an intention of pleasing Him, follow on all occasions the motions of His grace, never resist His holy will, nor defer its accomplishment for one moment; so that there may be no interval between our knowing, willing, and performing what He requires of us. Nothing is so agreeable to God as to confide in Him, to trust in all things to Him, to abandon ourselves entirely to Him, and to depend completely upon Him. Happy the soul which, receiving all from His hands, resigns itself in all things to His holy will, wills only what He wills, and wills all that happens to it, because He so ordains it.
EACH day do I ask of Thee, O Lord, that Thy will may be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Hearken to my prayer, I beseech Thee, and grant that I may perform all my actions in compliance with Thy holy will, and ever make it the sole rule of my conduct. Deliver my soul from the slavery of its passions. Grant that they may all yield to Thine empire, and that to please and love Thee may ever be the predominant desire of my soul. Amen.