BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
CHAPTER 57: THAT A MAN SHOULD NOT BE TOO MUCH
DEJECTED WHEN HE FALLS INTO SOME DEFECTS
SON, patience and humility under adversity please Me more than much consolation and devotion in prosperity.
Why art thou afflicted at a little matter said against thee?
If it had been more, thou oughtest not to have been disturbed.
But now let it pass; it is not the first, or anything new; nor will it be the last, if thou live long.
Thou art valiant enough, so long as no adversity cometh in thy way.
Thou canst also give good advice, and knowest how to encourage others with thy speech; but when any unexpected trouble cometh at thine own door, then thy counsel and thy courage fail thee.
Consider thy great frailty, which thou often experiencest in trifling occurrences; yet still do they happen for thy salvation, as often as these or similar trials befall thee.
2. Put it out of thy heart as well as thou canst; and if tribulation hast touched thee, yet let it not cast thee down, nor long entangle thee.
At least bear it patiently, if thou canst not joyfully.
And although thou be reluctant to bear it, and feel est indignation, yet repress thyself, and suffer no inordinate word to come out of thy mouth, whereby little ones may be offended.
This commotion excited will quickly be allayed, and inward grief will be sweetened by returning grace.
I still live, saith the Lord, ready to help thee, and comfort thee more than before, if thou put thy trust in Me, and devoutly call upon Me.
3. Be thou even-minded and gird thyself for greater endurance.
All is not lost, though thou feel thyself often afflicted or grievously tempted.
Man thou art, and not God; thou art flesh, not an Angel.
How canst thou continue ever in the same state of virtue, when this was wanting to the Angels in Heaven, and to the first man in paradise?
I am He Who raiseth up to safety them that mourn; and them that know their own infirmity I promote to My own Divinity.
4. O Lord, blessed be Thy word; it is sweeter to my mouth than honey and the honeycomb.
What should I do in my so great tribulations and necessities, didst Thou not strengthen me with Thy holy words?
Provided only I shall reach at last the haven of salvation, what doth it matter how many or how great trials I shall have endured?
Grant me a good end, grant me a happy passage out of this world.
Be mindful of me, O my God, and direct me in the right path to Thy kingdom. Amen.
WHEN languishing under great and long-continued sufferings, let us remember that humble submission to the cross is incomparably more pleasing to God, than the enjoyment of consolation; and hence, that the greatest consolation of the soul should be, to be deprived of every other consolation but that of being ever faithful to its crucified Redeemer.
When tempted and inclined to sin, let us turn away from our evil inclinations, and resist them with all the strength and courage possible; let us have recourse to our Lord for His assistance, and to the Blessed Virgin for her prayers. The sense of evil must not deject or discourage us, but elevate us to God. In Him let us place all our confidence, and with an extreme horror for sin, withdraw our minds, as far as we are able, from the sinful objects which affect them, and our hearts from the criminal pleasures which allure them. That we may remain faithful under contradictions, let us endeavor, when the heart is moved, to keep silence, and to sacrifice to God all those ill-natured reflections and excited feelings which proceed from resentment against those who have been the cause of our uneasiness; knowing that whatever we think or desire, or say against our neighbor, we think, desire and say against Jesus Christ.
Let us remember, in our interior afflictions, that all is not lost because we are in trouble and violent temptation. Let us resist temptation, submit to humiliation, and believe that before we can be elevated to a union with God, we must first descend into the depth of our own miseries.
PERMIT not, O Lord, my afflictions to become unavailable to salvation; and if I do not suffer them with joy, grant at least that I may endure them with patience. It is good for me to be humbled, that I may learn to keep Thy holy ordinances. Doubly wretched should I be, to make the miseries of this life serve only to consign me to eternal torments and despair! May then the sufferings which Thou sendest me, O God, become the pledges of my salvation. Amen.