Ansigni. Detail from Madonna with Child, 19th Century

The Voice of Christ…

Some there are who resign themselves, but with certain reservation; they do not trust fully in God and therefore they try to provide for themselves. Others, again, at first offer all, but afterward are assailed by temptation and return to what they have renounced, thereby making no progress in virtue. These will not reach the true liberty of a pure heart nor the grace of happy friendship with Me unless they first make a full resignation and a daily sacrifice of themselves. Without this no fruitful union lasts nor will last.

I have said to you very often, and now I say again: forsake yourself, renounce yourself and you shall enjoy great inward peace. Give all for all. Ask nothing, demand nothing in return. Trust purely and without hesitation in Me, and you shall possess Me. You will be free of heart and darkness will not overwhelm you.

Strive for this, pray for this, desire this — to be stripped of all selfishness and naked to follow the naked Jesus, to die to self and live forever for Me. Then all vain imaginations, all wicked disturbances and superfluous cares will vanish. Then also immoderate fear will leave you and inordinate love will die.

– Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

Recently I have been reading ‘The Imitation of Christ’ by Thomas a Kempis (Translators: Aloysius Croft & Harold Bolton). The assertions in the book are very simple but they are challenging to put into practice.

I will admit that I have been half-hearted at applying the principles described in the book to my life because it is painful to let go of earthly comforts. It is painful because they are what I have known for most of my life; I hardly know life apart from them.

So I have to rely solely on the Lord to form my soul. I fall often daily in almost every hour, but like St Therese the little flower says “to not become discouraged over our failings, for children fall often, but they are too little to hurt themselves very much.”