Sunday, March 15, 2009

He That Loves His Life Shall Lose It

Though I am but dust and ashes I will speak to my Lord. If I esteem myself more than ashes, You are of a different opinion; in fact, my very sins are witnesses against me and I am unable to contradict their testimony. But if I belittle myself, think of myself as nothing, throw off all self-regard and account myself to be dust, as I truly am, then Your grace will come upon me and Your light will enter my heart, and all self-esteem, no matter how infinitesimal it be, will be drowned in my total nothingness and will disappear forever.

It is within my very depths that You reveal me to myself: what I am, what I have been, and what I have become. I am nothing and I never knew it! Left to myself I am but a zero and abound with frailties, but when you turn Your face toward me I suddenly gain strength and am filled with new joy. It astounds me when I realize that You are so quick to raise me up and embrace me, who am always sinking to the bottom because of the heaviness of my sins.

It is Your love that does this for me; it precedes me in all that I do, helps me in my many needs, guards me from grave dangers, and delivers me, as I most happily admit, from evils beyond all counting.

By loving myself, as I should not have, I lost myself; by seeking only You and by loving You with an untarnished love, I found both You and myself, and through this love I have more fully brought myself to total nothingness.

My dearest Lord, You treat me far better than I deserve and beyond all I dare hope or ask for.

My God, may You be blessed for ever! Though I am unworthy to receive anything good, nevertheless, Your liberality and infinite goodness never cease doing good, even towards the ungrateful who have turned their backs upon You. Turn us again toward You so that we may be grateful, humble, and devoted to You, who alone is our salvation, our power, and our strength.

Thomas à Kempis - The Imitation of Christ

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