BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
CHAPTER 9: THAT ALL THINGS ARE TO BE REFERRED TO GOD,
AS TO OUR LAST END
SON, I must be thy supreme and ultimate end, if thou desirest to be truly happy. By this intention shall thine affections be purified, which too often are irregularly bent upon thyself and things created.
For if in anything thou seekest thyself, thou presently faintest away within thyself, and growest dry.
Principally, therefore, refer all things to Me; for it is I that have given thee all.
Consider each thing as flowing from the sovereign Good; and therefore all must be returned to Me as to their origin.
2. Out of Me both little and great, poor and rich, as out of a living fountain, draw living water; and they who freely and willingly serve Me shall receive grace for grace.
But he who would glory in anything else beside Me, or delight in any good as his own, shall not be established in true joy, nor enlarged in his heart; but in many ways shall be impeded and straitened.
Therefore thou must not ascribe any good to thyself, nor attribute virtue to any man; but give all to God, without Whom man has nothing.
I have given all, I will also have all again; and with great strictness do I require a return of thanks.
3. This is that truth by which all vainglory is put to flight.
And if heavenly grace and true charity come in, there shall be no envy nor narrowness of heart, nor shall self-love keep possession.
For Divine charity overcometh all, and enlargeth all the powers of the soul.
If thou art truly wise, thou wilt rejoice in Me alone, thou wilt hope in Me alone; for none is good but God alone, Who is to be praised above all and to be blessed in all.
LET an upright and pure intention of pleasing God direct all thine actions, and endeavor to give Him the whole glory of all the good thou performest, for He is the plenitude and source of all good. Glory only in thine infirmities, and turn them to thine advantage by frequently offering them to the God of all mercy, Who is ever well pleased in a soul that is penetrated with a sense of its own nothingness. Dwell not upon thoughts of vanity and self-complacency, and do not desire to be praised and esteemed by men; for God confounds and despises those who seek to please men and to obtain their praises. The only means by which thou canst please God and gain His love, is to despise and hate thyself.
PERMIT me not, O Lord, to attribute the least good to myself, but to refer all to Thee, Who alone art the Author of every good work. Glory is Thy portion, and I will give it wholly and entirely to Thee; confusion is mine, and I will accept it from Thy hand; happy if, by joyfully resigning myself to contempt, I become worthy of Thy favors, and if, by living a humble and concealed life, I die to myself and to the world, and live only to Thee. Amen.