Monday, December 04, 2006

"My Imitation of Christ"
by Thomas a Kempis
Revised translation edited by Confraternity of the Precious Blood, Imprimatur Thomas Edmundus Molloy, Archbishop of Brooklyn, 1954

Book One - useful admonishes for a Spiritual Life

CHAPTER 13 Resisting Temptations part 2.

4. Inconstancy of mind and small confidence in God is the beginning of all evil temptations. For as a ship without a rudder is tossed to and fro by the waves, so the man who is remiss, and who quits his resolutions, is many ways tempted. Fire tries iron, and temptation tries a just man. We often know not what we can do; but temptation discovers what we are. However, we must be watchful, especially in the beginning of temptation, because then the enemy is easier to overcome, if he is not suffered to come in at all at the door of the soul, but is kept out and resisted at his first knock. Whence a certain man said: "Withstand the beginning, after-remedies come too late." For first a bare thought comes to the mind; then a strong imagination; afterwards delight and evil motion and consent. And thus, by little and little, the wicked enemy gets full entrance when he is not resisted in the beginning. And the longer a man is negligent in resisting, so much the weaker does he daily becomes stronger against him.

5. Some suffer great temptations in the beginning of their conversion, and some in the end. And some there are who are much troubled, in a manner, all their lifetime. Some are but lightly tempted, according to the wisdom and equity of the ordinance of God, who weighs the state and merits of men, and pre-ordains all for the salvation of the elect.

6. We must not, therefore, despair when we are tempted, but pray to God with so much the more fervour, that He may vouchsafe to help us in all tribulations; who, no doubt, according to the saying of St. Paul, will "make such issue with the temptation that we may be able to bear it." - 1 Cor. x. 13.
Let us therefore, humble our souls, under the hand of God in all temptations and tribulations; for the humble in spirit He will save and exalt.

7. In temptations and tribulations a man is proved as to what progress he has made; and in them there is a greater merit, and his virtue appears more concupiscuous. Nor is it much if a man be devout and fervent when he feels no trouble; but if in the time of adversity he bears up with patience there will be hope of a great advancement. Some are preserved from great temptations and are often overcome in little daily ones; that, being humbled, they may never presume on themselves in great things, who are weak in such small occurrences.