Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thomas a Kempis: The Inner Life

This is such a great reminder for me, to keep my focus on God.  I thought it was a pretty fitting excerpt to read around Christmastime, when so many other things (good things, even!) can distract me from the true meaning of Christmas and my true purpose for being.

Excerpt from Thomas a Kempis' "The Inner Life"

Chapter 9: How God Alone is our True End

CHRIST.  My son, I must be your supreme and final End, if you desire true happiness.  Fixed on Myself, your affection which too often is wrongly inclined to yourself and creatures, will be cleansed.  For whenever you seek yourself, at once you become discouraged and desolate.  Therefore, refer all things to Me, for it is I who have given all to you.  Consider everything as springing from the supreme God, since to Myself, as their Source, all things must return.
From Myself, as from a living fountain, both small and great, rich and poor alike draw the water of life; and they who freely and willingly serve Me, shall receive grace upon grace.  But whoever desires to glory in anything outside Me, or to delight in some personal good thing, will not be established in true joy, nor uplifted in heart, but will be hindered and frustrated in countless ways.  Therefore, ascribe no good to yourself, nor to any man, but ascribe all to God, without whom man has nothing.  I have given all, and it is My will that all return to Me again; I shall require a grateful and exact account.
This, then, is the truth, by which vainglory is put to flight.  And if heavenly grace and true charity enter in, there will be no envy or meannesss of heart, nor will self-love retain possession.  Divine charity overcomes everything, enlarging every power of the soul.  If you are truly wise, you will rejoice and hope in Me alone; for none is good but God alone, who is to be praised above all, and to be blessed in all.

Amen.

I just added the Amen.  It seemed right.  What a convicting passage - and I have seen it worked out so many times in my own life, even recently!  When I am focused (with the tenacity of a bulldog, as my mom sometimes likes to say) on what I want and pursuing that and making others follow me to it, I do often end up discouraged and desolate and angry.  But when I let go of what I want and instead focus on God and serving Him by being patient, loving, forgiving, letting go of offenses and insensitive remarks and all of that, He does give me more grace to finish each day.

Okay.  Now I can go make chili and check things off my to-do list!

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