BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
15: THE GRACE OF DEVOTION IS ACQUIRED BY HUMILITY AND SELF-ABNEGATION
The Voice of the Beloved.
THOU oughtest to seek the grace of devotion earnestly, to ask it
longingly, to wait for it patiently and confidently, to receive it
thankfully, to keep it humbly, to work with it diligently, and to
commit to God the time and manner of this heavenly visitation, until He
come unto thee.
Thou oughtest especially to humble thyself when thou feelest inwardly
little or no devotion; and yet not to be too much dejected, nor to
God often giveth in one short moment what He hath for a long time
He giveth sometimes in the end that which at the beginning of prayer He
deferred to grant.
2. If grace were always immediately given, and ever present at our
will, it would scarcely be supportable to weak man.
Therefore, the grace of devotion must be awaited with a good hope and
Still impute it to thyself and to thy sins when it is not given, or
when also it is secretly taken away.
A trifling matter is it sometimes that hindereth or hideth grace; if,
indeed, that may be called trifling, and not rather important, which
hindereth so great a good. But if thou wilt remove this thing, small or
great as it may be, and perfectly overcome it, it shall be as thou
3. For as soon as thou hast delivered thyself up to God with thy whole
heart, and neither seekest this nor that for thine own pleasure, or
will, but wholly placest thyself in Him, thou shalt find thyself united
to Him and at peace; for nothing will be so grateful to thee, and
please thee so much, as the good pleasure of the Divine will.
Whosoever, therefore, with simplicity of heart shall raise up his
intention to God, and disengage himself from all inordinate love or
dislike of any created being, he shall be the most apt to receive
grace, and worthy of the gift of devotion.
For the Lord bestoweth His benediction there where He findeth vessels
And the more perfectly one forsaketh the things below, and the more he
dies to himself by contempt of himself, the more speedily grace cometh,
entereth in more plentifully, and the higher it elevateth a heart that
4. Then shall he see and abound, and shall admire, and his heart shall
be enlarged within him, because the hand of the Lord is with him, and
he hath put himself wholly into His hand, even forever.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who seeketh God with his whole
heart, and taketh not his soul in vain.
Such a one, in receiving the Holy Eucharist, obtaineth the great grace
of divine union; because he doth not regard his own devotion and
consolation, but above all devotion and consolation he regardeth the
honor and glory of God.
How we are to dispose
ourselves to receive the grace of the Holy Communion, that we may
profit by it.
THE end of the Holy Eucharist is to unite us intimately to Jesus
Christ, and to form in our souls a moral incarnation of His Spirit and
His virtues; hence the holy Fathers call this adorable Sacrament an
extension of the incarnation; it is to perpetuate the reign of His
grace and love within us, and to enable us always to live a Divine and
supernatural life in and by Him. Thus the grace which the Holy
Communion produces in us, is conformable to the end for which it was
instituted; and is agreeable to what Jesus Christ says of it in the
Gospel; for, first, it causes us to remain in Him, forming and
imprinting in our souls the character of His virtues, as a seal makes
its impression upon the wax to which it is applied; secondly, it makes
us live by Him and for Him, that is, act only to please Him and by the
influence of His love; thirdly, it enables us to live always a life of
grace. Thus the grace which Jesus Christ communicates to us in the Holy
Communion is to establish Himself in us, to make us act in all things
and live only in Him and for Him, and to give us eternal life. We
should dispose ourselves to receive and profit by this grace and these
three effects of a good Communion; first, by separating ourselves from
all willful sin, and the affection for it; secondly, by renouncing, and
dying incessantly to ourselves; thirdly, by being ever faithful to the
grace of God, and in the exercise of His love.
I. WHAT confusion for me, O Jesus, to have communicated so
often, and to have profited so little by my Communions; to have been so
frequently nourished with God, and to have lived always
as man, an idle and sensual life! Pardon, my Savior, pardon me the evil
dispositions with which I have approached the Holy Communion, pardon me
for having had so often a dissipated mind, a heart attached to self
love, and to the world, and for having done so little to acquire the
dispositions for a good Communion, to return Thee thanks after having
received it and to reap the fruit of it, which is the re-establishment
of myself in fidelity and fervor.
II. How much reason have I to fear, O my Savior, that Thou wilt one day
reproach me with the unfruitfulness of my Communion! But ought I less
to dread Thy just reproach for neglecting to dispose myself for
frequent and worthy Communion? How I fear lest I shall be condemned for
my sloth, which has kept me away from the holy table, and caused me to
lose so many Communions to which Thou wouldst have attached the grace
of my conversion.
III. I will therefore from henceforth dispose myself for worthy
Communion by detachment from sin and the occasions of it, and by
interior acts of those virtues which I ought to exercise before, during
and after the Holy Communion, and I will also spare no pains to profit
by my Communions, by endeavoring to watch over myself, to avoid all
willful faults, to do all with a view to please Thee, to be faithful in
my religious exercises, and to be courageous in restraining and
conquering myself; for these are the true fruits of a good Communion.
Grant me grace to execute what now, by Thy grace, Thou dost inspire me
to resolve. Amen.