BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
CHAPTER 47: THAT ALL GRIEVOUS THINGS ARE TO BE
ENDURED FOR LIFE EVERLASTING
SON, let not the labors which thou hast undertaken for My sake crush thee, neither let tribulations, from whatever source, cast thee down; but in every occurrence let My promise strengthen and console thee.
I am sufficient to recompense thee beyond all bounds and measure.
It is not long thou hast to labor here, nor shalt thou be always oppressed with sorrows.
Wait a little, and thou shalt see a speedy end of suffering.
The hour cometh when all labor and trouble shall be no more.
All is little and short which passeth away with time.
2. Mind what thou art about: labor faithfully in My vineyard: I will be thy reward.
Write, read, sing, lament, keep silence, pray, bear adversities manfully: eternal life is worth all these, and greater combats.
Peace shall come on one day, which is known to the Lord.
And it will not be day or night, such as it is at present; but light everlasting, infinite brightness, steadfast peace and safe repose.
Thou shalt not then say: Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Neither shalt thou cry out: Woe is me that my sojourning is prolonged; for death shall be no more, but never-failing health; no anxiety, but blessed delight, and a society sweet and glorious.
3. Oh! if thou couldst see the everlasting crowns of the Saints in Heaven, and in how great glory they now triumph, who appeared contemptible heretofore to this world, and as it were even unworthy of life, doubtless thou wouldst immediately cast thyself down to the very earth, and wouldst rather be ambitious to be in subjection to all, than to have precedence over so much as one.
Neither wouldst thou covet the pleasant days of this life, but wouldst rather be glad to suffer tribulation for God's sake; and esteem it the greatest gain to be reputed as nothing amongst men.
4. Oh, if thou didst but relish these things, did they penetrate deep into thy heart, how wouldst thou dare so much as once to complain! Ought not all painful labors to be endured for everlasting life?
It is no small matter to lose or gain the kingdom of God.
Lift up, therefore, thy face to Heaven; behold I and all My Saints with Me, who in this world have had a great conflict, now rejoice, are comforted now, are now secure, are now at rest; and they shall for all eternity abide with Me in the kingdom of My Father.
How hard is this saying: That salvation is only to be obtained by a life of continual suffering, by constantly fighting against and by ever renouncing and dying to ourselves! But how are we encouraged to submit to such a course, by the hope and assurance of eternal happiness, which will be the reward we shall receive in exchange for the disappointments and miseries of this present time! Nothing will afford us such great consolation at the hour of death, as the good use we have made of sufferings; then shall we find that we have done nothing purely for God, but what we have done contrary to ourselves, and that a truly Christian life must necessarily be a life of crosses and self-denials.
AS, O God, we believe and hope for the good things of eternity, grant that we
may so use the transitory miseries of this life as to obtain the permanent felicity of the next. At the hour of death what shall we not wish to have done, to have suffered, and renounced for the sake of obtaining Heaven! Instill, O Lord, into our hearts something of the desires we shall then entertain to no purpose, that we may now really renounce and die to ourselves. Grant we may never consider anything as great but what is eternal, and regard all that passes away with time, as little and contemptible. O happiness! O joy! O eternal felicity! console us under the afflictions of our mortal course. And since we must of necessity repent either in time or for all eternity, suffer either in this life or in the next, grant us, we beseech Thee, O Jesus, patiently to endure all present evils, in hopes of obtaining future bliss and happiness. Amen.