Humility

I thought it might be a good idea to post this chapter from the book Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis. This is from part 3, chapter 14, and it is the prayer of a humble disciple.

“You thunder your judgements over me, Lord, and all my bones quake with fear and trembling,and my soul is terribly afraid.I stand stunned and consider that the heavens are not pure in your sight. If you found corruption inthe angels and you did not spare them, what will happen to me? The stars of heaven fell, and what can I, who am but dust, think will happen to me? Those whose works seemed praiseworthy have fallen to the depths, and I see those who ate the bread of angels delighting in pig slop!”

“There is no holiness, Lord, if you withdraw your hand, no wisdom if you cease to govern, no courage if you cease to save, no chastity if you do not protect it, no watchfulness if your holy vigilance is missing. If you abandon us, we sink and perish, but if you visit us, we are raised up and live. Why, we are trembling, but through you we are strengthened; we are lukewarm, but by you we are set ablaze.”

“Oh, how humble and lowly I ought to feel about myself, and even if I seem to have goodness, I ought to think nothing about it. Oh, how deeply I ought to submit myself to your unfathomable judgements, Lord, where I find myself to be nothing but nothing, absolutely nothing. O measureless weight! O impassable sea! I peer deep within myself and I find nothing but total nothingness.”

“So where can pride hide? Where is confidence born of virtue? All empty boasting is swallowed up  in the depths of your judgement over me. What am I- or any of us- in your sight? Shall the clay boast against he who formed it? How can a person whose heart is in true harmony with God become swollen with pride? If your whole hope were fixed on God, and you were to live your whole life for him alone, nothing in this world could inflate your pride or flatter your vanity. All those whose smooth tongues speak empty praise are nothing in themselves, for they will fade away with the sound of their own voices, but the truth of the lord endures forever.”

I started reading this book a while after I found it my mom’s office. It has 144 chapters, and coincedentally when I found it, there were 144 days left in the year! So I started reading a chapter each morning and meditating on that reading throughout the day. It is possibly the best book I have ever read, and I hope you like this chapter as much as I do. 

God bless you all!

 
Update: I posted more about humility here.

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3 thoughts on “Humility

  1. Thanks for sharing. It’s been many years since I’ve read The Imitation of Christ. You’ve motivated me to read it again. It’s considered one of the most important books that every Catholic ought to read.

  2. “If your whole hope were fixed on God, and you were to live your whole life for him alone, nothing in this world could inflate your pride or flatter your vanity.”

    …and this is the goal!

    When they came to the crowd a man approached, knelt down before him, and said, “Lord, have pity on my son, for he is a lunatic and suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.”

    Jesus said in reply, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him here to me.” Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him, and from that hour the boy was cured.

    Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, “Why could we not drive it out?”

    He said to them, “Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. But this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting”

    Mt. 17, 14-21

    The goal is to fix your ‘whole hope’ on God and the way to achieve this goal is through “prayer and fasting”. Fasting means giving up food, of course, but there’s an even better kind of fasting that happens when you stop feeding your soul with blind judgments and flattery. Your soul is hungry for that kind of ‘junk food’, but it is better to feed it with knowledge of God’s will and mercy. When you learn that kind of fast, your prayer life really improves!

    Peace,

    Paul

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