BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
34: THAT HE THAT LOVETH GOD RELISHETH HIM
ABOVE ALL THINGS AND IN ALL THINGS
BEHOLD my God and my all! What would I more, and what greater happiness
can I desire?
O sweet and savory word! but to him that loveth the Word, not the world
nor the things that are in the world.
My God and my all! To one that understandeth sufficient is said; to one
that loveth, to repeat it often is delightful.
For when Thou art present, all things yield delight; but when thou art
absent, all things grow loathsome.
Thou makest a tranquil heart, great peace, and festive joy.
Thou makest us to think well of all things, and in all things to praise
Thee, nor can anything without Thee afford any lasting pleasure; but if
it is to be agreeable and well-pleasing to us, Thy grace must be
present, and it must be seasoned with the savor of Thy wisdom.
2. To whom Thou impartest a relish, what will not be rightly agreeable
And to him that relisheth Thee not, what can ever yield any true
But the wise of the world and the wise according to the flesh are
destitute of Thy wisdom; for in the former is found much vanity and in
the latter death.
But they that follow Thee, by the contempt of worldly things and the
mortification of the flesh, are found to be wise indeed; for they are
translated from vanity to truth, from the flesh to the spirit.
Such as these have a relish of God; and whatever good is found in
creatures, they refer it all to the praise of their Maker.
But great, yea, very great, is the difference between the relish of the
Creator and the creature, of eternity and of time, of light uncreated
and of light enlightened.
3. O Light perpetual! transcending all created lights, dart forth that
light from above, which may penetrate all the secret recesses of my
Cleanse, cheer, enlighten, and enliven my spirit with its powers, that
with joyful ecstasy it may cleave to Thee.
Oh, when will this blessed and desirable hour come, that Thou mayst
fill me with Thy presence, and become to me all in all?
So long as this is not granted, my joy will not be full.
As yet, alas, the old man is living in me; he is not wholly crucified,
he is not perfectly dead.
He still lusteth strongly against the spirit, he wageth war with me,
neither suffereth he the kingdom of the soul to be quiet.
4. But Thou, Who rulest over the power of the sea, and assuagest the
motion of its waves, arise and help me.
Scatter Thou the nations that delight in wars, crush them in Thy might.
Show forth, I beseech Thee, Thy wonderful works, and let Thy right hand
For there is no hope nor refuge for me but in Thee, O Lord my God.
To love God alone, to love Him above all things, is to delight
only in Him, to seek only Him, and to renounce everything which by
nature is pleasing to us, according to that word of the royal Prophet: "My soul refused to be comforted: I
remembered God, and was delighted, and was exercised, and my spirit
Wherefore, if we would love only God, let us mortify the senses,
captivate the mind, restrain the heart, subdue the flesh, and refuse
ourselves numberless gratifications, in order to please God. Happy the
soul that is willing to live a crucified life with Jesus upon the
Cross, that so it may be able to say with the Apostle: "Jesus Christ is my life, and it is my gain
to die to all, that I may live for Him alone
HOW sweet, O Lord, to breathe only Thy love, and to say to Thee
with my whole heart: "My God and my
all! my Lord and my God!
Grant that these words may enter into my soul; do Thou impress them
upon my mind and in my heart; grant me to understand and to practice
them. O great God, Thou art, and this doth satisfy me, because I love
Thee more for Thyself than for my own sake. But O God! Thou art my
Savior; all that Thou art in this respect, Thou art for me, and this
redoubles my confidence in and love for Thee. O my God! how can I live
without Thee? How can I not live for Thee? O my Lord, reign absolutely
over me. O my God! May my whole self be Thine, and may I live only for
Thee! My Lord and my God! Mayst Thou be so in time, that Thou mayst be
my portion for all eternity. Amen.