BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
33: OF THE INCONSTANCY OF OUR HEART,
AND OF DIRECTING OUR FINAL INTENTION TO GOD
trust not to thy
feeling; whatever it may be now it will be quickly changed into
another. As long as thou livest thou art subject to change, even
against thy will; so as to be sometimes joyful, at other times sad; now
at peace, again troubled; at one time devout, at another indevout;
sometimes fervent, at other times sluggish; one day heavy, another
But he that is wise and well instructed in spirit stands above all
these changes, not minding what he feels in himself, nor on what side
the wind of instability bloweth: but that the whole bent of his soul
may be made conducive towards the due and wished-for end.
For thus one and the same and unshaken can he stand, directing, through
all this variety of events, the single eye of his intention
unflinchingly towards Me.
2. And the purer the eye of thine intention is, with so much greater
constancy wilt thou pass through these diverse storms.
But in many the eye of pure intention is dark; for men quickly look
towards something delightful as it comes in their way; and seldom will
you find anyone altogether free from all blemish of self-seeking.
So of old the Jews came into Bethania, to Martha and Mary, not for
Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also.
The eye of the intention must therefore be purified, that it may be
single and right; and it must be directed unto Me, beyond all various
objects that come between.
IN order to fix the instability of our hearts in what regards
the service of God, and the care of our salvation, we should, first,
mistrust, ourselves and confide in God; secondly, we should have
recourse to Him and implore His assistance on all occasions; thirdly,
we should often renew our intention of pleasing Him, without wishing to
please ourselves; fourthly, we should fight without ceasing against our
natural repugnances; fifthly, we should desire only what God wills, and
endeavor to execute it; sixthly, we should habituate our hearts to love
God, and, as it were, contract those holy bonds by which He desires to
be united with us forever; and, seventhly, we should punctually attend
to the inspirations and motions of His grace.
WHEN shall Thy grace, O God, inspire me with some degree of
that firmness and faithful adherence to Thee which Thy glory imparts to
the blessed? Suffer not my heart to be overcome by that inconstancy
which is so natural to it, nor my life to be a perpetual succession of
good desires and evil practices, of promises and infidelities. Not to
love Thee at all times is to love Thee not as God; Thy reign over our
hearts, to be worthy of Thee, should be constant and invariable.
Grant, then, O God, that my soul may be all Thine, at all times, and
forever; and that, by my perpetual fidelity, I may merit eternal