BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
36: AGAINST THE VAIN JUDGMENTS OF MAN
SON, cast thy heart firmly on the Lord, and fear not human judgment,
whensoever thy conscience gives testimony of thy piety and innocence.
It is a good and blessed thing to suffer in such a manner; neither will
this be grievous to a humble heart, nor to one that confideth in God
more than in one's self.
Many say many things, and therefore little credit must be given to
Neither is it possible to satisfy all. Though Paul endeavored to please
all in the Lord, and became all to all, yet he made little account of
being judged by man's day.
2. He labored abundantly for the edification and salvation of others,
as much as lay in him and as much as he could; but he could not prevent
being sometimes judged and despised by others.
Therefore he committed all to God, Who knoweth all, and defended
himself by patience and humility against the tongues of those that
spoke unjustly, as well as those who devised vain and lying deceits,
and who, according to caprice, made accusation of whatever they wished.
However, he answered them sometimes, lest his silence might give
occasion of scandal to the weak.
3. Who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of a mortal man? Today he
is, and tomorrow he is no more seen.
Fear God, and thou shalt not be afraid of the terrors of man.
What can anyone do against thee by words or injuries?
He rather hurts himself than thee; nor will he be able, whoever he be,
to escape the judgment of God.
Have God before thine eyes and do not contend with querulous words.
So that if at present thou seem to be overcome, and to suffer a
confusion which thou hast not deserved, do not repine at this, and do
not lessen thy crown by impatience, but rather look up to Me in Heaven,
Who am powerful to deliver thee from all confusion and injury, and to
render to every one according to his works.
A CHRISTIAN, when assailed by the shafts of calumny, should, in
reality, regard these trials from a favorable point of view, because
they subject him to the happy necessity of flying to God, and of
appealing to Him as the secret witness of his conscience. Although we
are fully convinced that, in reality, the esteem or contempt of men,
their good or bad opinion respecting us, can neither make us more happy
nor more miserable, yet do we strive to obtain their approbation. Why
do we not rather endeavor to establish ourselves in the favor of God,
Who will decide our eternal doom?
O LORD, Who didst sacrifice Thy life by a cruel and disgraceful
death, and didst give Thy Heart to perpetual sorrow and bitterness for
my sake, can I refuse to sacrifice to Thee the sensibilities of my
heart, when troubled on account of the remarks and disadvantageous
judgments of others concerning me? Grant, O Divine Jesus, that at the
sight of the outrages Thou didst endure for me, my heart may reproach
itself for suffering so little, and that so unwillingly, for Thee. And,
since the wounds which are inflicted upon the reputation of our
neighbor fall always, either in this life or in the next, upon him who
does the injury, for Thy glory, and not for mine, deliver my enemies
from their blindness, forgive their malice, and inflame them with the
fire of Thy charity. Amen.