Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Few Love The Cross

"Jesus has now many lovers of his heavenly kingdom, but few bearers of his cross. He has many, who are desirous of consolation, but few of tribulation. He finds many companions of his table, but few of his fasting. All desire to rejoice with him; few are willing to suffer anything for him. Many follow Jesus as far as the breaking of bread, but few to the drinking of the chalice of his passion. Many reverence his miracles, but few follow the reproach of his cross. Many love Jesus as long as they meet with no adversity; many praise and bless him as long as. they receive some consolations from him. But if Jesus hide himself and leave them for a little while, they fall either into complaining or into excessive dejection. But they who love Jesus for Jesus' sake, and not for any comfort of their own, bless him no less in tribulation and anguish of heart than in the greatest consolation. And if he should never give them consolation, yet would they always praise him, and always give him thanks. Oh, what might there is in the pure love of Jesus, when unmixed with any self-interest or self-love! Are not all those to be called hirelings who are always looking for consolations? Are not they proved to be rather lovers of themselves than of Christ, who always think of their own profit and gain? Where shall we find a man who is willing to serve God for nought? Rarely is anyone found who is so spiritual as to be stripped of all things. For who can find the man who is truly poor in spirit and stripped of every creature? His value is from afar and from the remotest coasts. If a man give his whole substance, it is yet nothing. And if he do great penance, it is yet little. And if he have laid hold of all knowledge, he is still far off. And if he have great virtue and a devotion glowing exceedingly, still is there much lacking to him: that is to say, that one thing which is above all necessary to him. What is that? That, having forsaken all things, he should forsake himself, and wholly go out of himself, and retain no personal affection. And when he shall have done all things which he knows should be done, that he should think that he has done nothing." —Thomas a`Kempis (1380-1471)

Taken from The Imitation Of Christ by Thomas a`Kempis, p. 96-97

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