Lenten Thoughts – 3 April – Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Imitation of Christ, by Thomas á Kempis (1380-1471): Book 3, Chapter 10
That it is sweet to despise the world and to serve God.
Now, will I speak again, O Lord and will not be silent, I will say in the hearing of my God and my King Who is on high: Oh, how great is the abundance of Your sweetness, O Lord, which You have hidden for those that fear You!
But what are You, for those who love You? What, to those who serve You with their whole heart? Unspeakable indeed, is the sweetness of Your contemplation, which You bestow on those who love You. In this most of all, have You shown me the sweetness of Your love, that when I had no being, You did make me and when I was straying far from You, You brought me back again, that I might serve You and You have commanded me to serve You.
O Fountain of everlasting love, what shall I say of You? How can I forget You, Who have vouchsafed to remember me even after I was corrupted and lost?
Beyond all hope, You show mercy to Your servant and beyond all desert, have You manifested Your grace and friendship. What return shall I make to You for this favour? For it is granted to all who forsake these things, to renounce the world and to assume the monastic life . Is it much that I should serve You, Whom the whole creation is bound to serve? It ought not to seem much to me to serve You but this does rather appear great and wonderful to me, that You vouchsafe to receive one so wretched and unworthy as Your servant. It is a great honour, a great glory, to serve You and to despise all things for You for they who willingly subject themselves to Your holy service, shall have great grace. They shall experience the most sweet consolation of the Holy Spirit, Who for the love of You, have cast aside all carnal delight.