Imitation of Christ,
by Thomas á Kempis: Book 2, Chapter 7
Of the Love of Jesus above All Things
Blessed is he
that understandeth (Psalm 119:1,2) what it is to love Jesus, and to despise
himself for Jesus' sake. Thou oughtest to leave thy beloved, for thy beloved
(Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:37; Cant. 2:16); for that Jesus will be loved alone
above all things.
The love of things created is deceitful and inconstant; the love of Jesus
is faithful and persevering. He that cleaveth unto a creature, shall fall
with that which is subject to fall; he that embraceth Jesus shall be made
strong for ever.
2. Love Him, and keep Him for thy friend, who, when all go away, will not
forsake thee, nor suffer thee to perish in the end. Some time or other thou
must be separated from all, whether thou wilt or no. Keep close to Jesus
both in life and in death, and commit thyself unto His faithfulness, who,
when all fail, can alone help thee.
Thy Beloved is of that nature, that He will admit of no rival; but will have
thy heart alone, and sit on His throne as King. If thou couldest empty thyself
perfectly from all creatures, Jesus would willingly dwell with thee.
From True Devotion
To the Blessed Virgin Mary, Nos. 257-260
There are some
very sanctifying interior practices for those souls who feel called by the
Holy Spirit to a high degree of perfection. They may be expressed in four
words, doing everything through Mary, with Mary, in Mary, and for Mary, in
order to do it more perfectly through Jesus, with Jesus, in Jesus, and for
258. We must do
everything through Mary, that is, we must obey her always and be led in all
things by her spirit, which is the Holy Spirit of God. "Those who are led
by the Spirit of God are children of God," says St. Paul. Those who are led
by the spirit of Mary are children of Mary, and, consequently children of
God, as we have already shown. Among the many servants of Mary only those
who are truly and faithfully devoted to her are led by her spirit. I have
said that the spirit of Mary is the spirit of God because she was never led
by her own spirit, but always by the spirit of God, who made himself master
of her to such an extent that he became her very spirit. That is why St.
Ambrose says, "May the soul of Mary be in each one of us to glorify the Lord.
May the spirit of Mary be in each one of us to rejoice in God." Happy is
the man who follows the example of the good Jesuit Brother Rodriguez, who
died a holy death, because he will be completely possessed and governed by
the spirit of Mary, a spirit which is gentle yet strong, zealous yet prudent,
humble yet courageous, pure yet fruitful.
260. We must do
everything with Mary, that is to say, in all our actions we must look upon
Mary, although a simple human being, as the perfect model of every virtue
and perfection, fashioned by the Holy Spirit for us to imitate, as far as
our limited capacity allows. In every action then we should consider how
Mary performed it or how she would perform it if she were in our place. For
this reason, we must examine and meditate on the great virtues she practised
during her life, especially: 1) Her lively faith, by which she believed the
angel's word without the least hesitation, and believed faithfully and constantly
even to the foot of the Cross on Calvary. 2) Her deep humility, which made
her prefer seclusion, maintain silence, submit to every eventuality and put
herself in the last place.
for the Third Week