Imitation of Christ,
by Thomas á Kempis: Book 4, Chapter 2
That the Great Goodness and Love of God
Is Exhibited to Man in This Sacrament
of Thy goodness and great mercy, O Lord, I draw near, sick to the Healer,
hungry and thirsty to the Fountain of life, needy to the King of Heaven,
a servant to his Lord, a creature to the Creator, desolate to my own tender
Comforter. "But whence is this to me," that Thou comest unto me (Luke 1:43)?
What am I, that Thou shouldest grant me Thine own self? how dare a sinner
appear before Thee?
And how is it that Thou dost vouchsafe to come unto a sinner? Thou knowest
Thy servant, and art well aware that he hath in him no good thing, for which
Thou shouldest grant him this. I confess therefore mine own vileness, I
acknowledge Thy goodness, I praise Thy tender mercy, and give Thee thanks
for Thy transcendent love.
From True Devotion
To the Blessed Virgin Mary, Nos. 243-254 243.
Loving slaves of
Jesus in Mary should hold in high esteem devotion to Jesus, the Word of God,
in the great mystery of the Incarnation, March 25th, which is the mystery
proper to this devotion, because it was inspired by the Holy Spirit for the
following reasons: a) That we might honour and imitate the wondrous dependence
which God the Son chose to have on Mary, for the glory of his Father and
for the redemption of man. This dependence is revealed especially in this
mystery where Jesus becomes a captive and slave in the womb of his Blessed
Mother, depending on her for everything. b) That we might thank God for the
incomparable graces he has conferred upon Mary and especially that of choosing
her to be his most worthy Mother. This choice was made in the mystery of
the incarnation. These are the two principal ends of the slavery of Jesus
245. a) Since we live in an age of pride when a great number of haughty scholars,
with proud and critical minds, find fault even with long-established and
sound devotions, it is better to speak of "slavery of Jesus in Mary" and
to call oneself "slave of Jesus" rather than "slave of Mary". We then avoid
giving any pretext for criticism. In this way, we name this devotion after
its ultimate end which is Jesus, rather than after the way and the means
to arrive there, which is Mary. However, we can very well use either term
without any scruple, as I myself do.
246. b) Since the principal mystery celebrated and honoured in this devotion
is the mystery of the Incarnation where we find Jesus only in Mary, having
become incarnate in her womb, it is appropriate for us to say, "slavery of
Jesus in Mary", of Jesus dwelling enthroned in Mary, according to the beautiful
prayer, recited by so many great souls, "O Jesus living in Mary".
249. Those who accept this devotion should have a great love for the Hail
Mary, or, as it is called, the Angelic Salutation. Few Christians, however
enlightened, understand the value, merit, excellence and necessity of the
Hail Mary. Our Blessed Lady herself had to appear on several occasions to
men of great holiness and insight, such as St. Dominic, St. John Capistran
and Blessed Alan de Rupe, to convince them of the richness of this prayer.
for the Third Week