BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
CHAPTER 51: THAT WE MUST EXERCISE OURSELVES IN HUMBLE
WORKS WHEN WE CANNOT ATTAIN TO THE HIGHEST
SON, thou canst not always continue in the more fervent desire of virtue, nor remain constantly in the higher degree of contemplation; but it must needs be that thou sometimes, by reason of original corruption, descend to low things, and bear the burden of this corruptible life, even against thy will and with weariness.
As long as thou carriest about with thee thy mortal body, thou shalt feel weariness and heaviness of heart.
Thou oughtest, therefore, while in the flesh, oftentimes to bewail the burden of the flesh, for that thou canst not unceasingly give thyself up to spiritual exercises and Divine contemplation.
2. On such occasions it is expedient for thee to betake thyself to humble and exterior works, and recreate thyself in good actions; to await My coming and heavenly visitation with an assured hope; to bear with patience thy banishment and the aridity of thy mind, until thou be again visited by Me and freed from all anxieties.
For I will cause thee to forget thy pains, and to enjoy internal quiet.
I will spread open before thee the pleasant fields of the Scriptures, that thy heart being enlarged, thou mayst begin to run in the way of My Commandments.
And then shalt thou say: The sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the future glory, which shall be revealed in us.
How great is the difference between the sanctity of the blessed in Heaven, and of men upon earth! The one is exempt from pain and full of sweetness, the other is replete with bitterness and misery; the one belongs to that delightful abode, our true country, the other is our portion in this vale of tears.
In eternity, we shall love God in possessing Him and enjoying His felicity; in time, we must love Him by suffering for His sake and patiently carrying the cross of Jesus Christ.
There, we shall be happy in God, and secure of His love forever; here, we know not whether We be worthy of love or hatred. In the time of spiritual dryness and desolation, let us employ ourselves in doing something exteriorly for God, since we find nothing within that sensibly calls us to Him; but at the same time let us not neglect any of the interior exercises of prayer, recollection, and continual recourse to God for His support and assistance.
O MY God I how long shall my sorrowful and rigorous exile keep me at a distance from Thee, uncertain as to my eternal happiness, and even in danger of losing it? How ashamed am I of appearing in Thy presence, miserable, weak, and defiled with sin! Turn not, O Lord, Thy face away from me; for there is no consolation but in Thy presence. Recall me, O God, recall me to Thyself by interior recollection; and may it supply the want of Thy glorious presence, and console me when I think of Thee, and of the misery of not being able to see and to possess Thee. Amen.