BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
CHAPTER 42: THAT PEACE IS NOT TO BE PLACED IN MEN
SON, if thou placest thy peace in any person, for thine own gratification, and for the sake of his society, thou shalt be unsettled and entangled.
But if thou hast recourse to the ever-living and abiding Truth, thou wilt not be greatly grieved if a friend forsake thee or die.
In Me the love of thy friend ought to stand; and for Me is he to be loved whoever he be, that appeareth to thee good and much to be loved in this life.
Without Me, friendship can neither profit nor endure; nor is that love true and pure which I do not bind together.
Thou oughtest to be so dead towards persons beloved, as to wish, as far as thou art concerned, to be altogether without any human fellowship. So much the nearer doth man approach to God, as he withdraweth himself the farther from all earthly consolation.
So much the higher also doth he ascend to God, as he descendeth the lower into himself, and becometh the viler in his own estimation.
2. But he that attributeth anything of good to himself, hinders God's grace from coming into him; for the grace of the Holy Spirit ever seeketh a humble heart.
If thou knowest perfectly how to annihilate thyself, and empty thyself of all created love, then would I flow into thee with great grace.
When thou lookest towards creatures, the sight of the Creator is withdrawn from thee.
Learn, for the sake of the Creator, to overcome thyself in all things; and then shalt thou be able to attain Divine knowledge.
How little soever it be, if anything be inordinately loved and regarded, it keepeth thee back from the sovereign good and corrupteth the soul.
THE more we descend into the abyss of our own nothingness, the more do we become exalted before God. We should therefore, in the first place, be little and humble, dependent upon the Almighty, and abide only in Him; secondly, the more we experience our own weakness and misery, the more earnestly should we apply to the mercy of God; thirdly, the less we find of good in ourselves, the more should we debase ourselves before Him, hoping all things from His bounty; fourthly, we should never suffer our hearts to become attached to anything but God, our duties and salvation, love only that which we shall love forever, and thus commence in time what we may hope to continue throughout eternity. All friendship which is not in God and for God is faulty, because we should love God alone with our whole heart. The heart, therefore, should be kept free and disengaged from all things, that it may belong only to Him Who is the center of our hearts, and Who alone can satisfy our desires.
GRANT, O God, that my heart, which was made for Thee alone, may be ever wholly Thine; that free from all undue affection to creatures, it may refer all to Thee, and seek, Thee alone in all things. Yes, my God, I know, with St. Augustine, that Thou art the center of our hearts, because Thou art their last end and sovereign good, and that they cannot rest until they rest in Thee. Grant me, therefore, what I now ask, a faithful, sovereign, and constant adherence to Thee. Amen.