BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
CHAPTER 44: OF NOT DRAWING TO OURSELVES EXTERIOR THINGS
SON, in many things it behooveth thee to be ignorant, and to esteem thyself as dead upon the earth, and as one to whom the whole world is crucified.
Many things also thou must pass by with a deaf ear, and think rather of the things that are for thy peace.
It is more profitable to turn away thine eyes from such things as displease thee, and leave to everyone his own way of thinking, than to be a slave to contentious discourses.
If thou standest well with God, and regardest His judgment, thou wilt more easily bear to be overcome.
2. O Lord, to what are we come? Behold, a temporal loss is bewailed; for a small gain men labor and run: but spiritual detriment is soon forgotten, and hardly ever returns to mind.
That which is of little or no profit taketh up our thoughts, and that which is necessary above all is negligently passed over; for the whole man sinketh down into outward things, and unless he quickly recovereth himself, he willingly continueth immersed into exterior things.
To regard one's self as crucified and dead to the world is, first, to entertain no attachment for anything but God, one's duty, and salvation; secondly, to regard all things as passing away, and to say to one's self: I am here to day, but shall be gone tomorrow: at the hour of death, what will honor, fortune, or pleasure avail me? Only, in proportion as I have used them as though I used them not.
Happy the Christian who dies thus to the world in affection, before he quits it in reality, who endeavors meritoriously to die daily to some one of those things which he will be forced to relinquish in death! Thus by dying daily, he will best secure for himself a happy departure hence.
We bewail our temporal losses, we incessantly dwell upon them, we are scarcely to be consoled when they happen to us; but when the soul perishes, its loss is soon forgotten, we soon become insensible to it, ,though this alone should affect a Christian. We cannot suffer the loss of any earthly good without regret, but the loss of Thee, my God, we mourn not, though Thou alone art our sovereign good.
ENLIGHTEN our minds, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and impress our hearts with the greatness of our loss when we withdraw ourselves from Thee. Grant that we may ever prefer Thee before all things else, and choose rather to lose all earthly goods than relinquish but for one moment Thy grace and love. When, O God, shall I resemble the dead within their graves (that which, according to St. Paul, is the spirit, the character, and the duty of all true Christians)? When shall I think no more of the world, and be content for the world to think no more of me? From henceforth, O Jesus, I desire to die to all things else, that I may live only to Thee for time and eternity. Amen.