BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
CHAPTER 28: AGAINST THE TONGUES OF DETRACTORS
SON, take it not to heart if some people think ill of thee, and say of thee what thou art not willing to hear. Thou oughtest to think worse things of thyself, and to believe no one weaker than thyself.
If thou walkest interiorly, thou wilt make small account of flying words from without.
It is no small prudence to be silent in the evil time, and to turn within to Me, and not to be disturbed with the judgment of man.
2. Let not thy peace depend on the tongues of men: for whether they put a good or bad construction on what thou doest, thou art still what thou art.
Where is true peace or true glory? Is it not in Me?
And he who neither desireth to please nor feareth to displease men shall enjoy much peace.
From inordinate love and vain fear ariseth all disquiet of heart and distraction of the senses.
NOTHING is so apt to give us uneasiness and trouble as the judgments and observations of others concerning us. We consider it a happiness to please men, and a misfortune to meet with their contempt: and yet what is the esteem or the form of the world but a shadow, a smoke, a vapor which passes away, and adds nothing to what we really are or ought to be? Whatever we are in the eyes of God, so much are we and no more, and therefore we should make no account of the favorable or mean opinions of others.
O human respect! When wilt thou give place to the reverence which we owe to God? Alas! how do human considerations destroy in us all that is pleasing to Him! Instead of inquiring what will be most pleasing to Jesus Christ, we think only of what others will say of us. But is it not better to obey God rather than men, to please Him rather than to please the world? Why, then, do we not endeavor to do so?
SUFFER not, O Lord, human respect, ever to take place of the reverence which I owe to Thee; but grant that a respectful and predominant sense of Thy presence and of Thy will may induce me to perform all my actions, to quit and to suffer all things, for Thy love. O my Savior and my Judge, unite my heart to Thyself by a dread of displeasing Thee, and a desire of being always agreeable in Thy sight. Grant that, dying incessantly to myself, I may live only to Thee, and by often renewing my intention of pleasing Thee, succeed in gaining Thy love. Grant that I may so accustom myself to love Thee during life, that the last motion of my heart may be a fervent act of my love for Thee. Amen.