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Wednesday, 8 August 2012

True Knight of Christ -- by Thomas a Kempis


Be a True Knight of Christ

Imitation of Christ 
by Thomas a Kempis

 "Be a True Knight of Christ"

That There is No Complete Security from Temptation in This Life

Our Lord says to His servant:  You will never be safe from temptation and tribulation in this life, and therefore spiritual armor is necessary for you as long as you live.  You are among your enemies and will be troubled and vexed by them on every side; unless you use everywhere the shield of patience, you will not long preserve yourself unwounded.  And more than that—if you do not set your heart strongly on Me, with a ready will to suffer all things patiently for Me, you cannot long bear this struggle, or come to the reward of the blessed saints.  It behooves you, therefore, resolutely to forego many things and to use a strong hand against all the assaults of the enemy.  To him who overcomes is promised the food of angels; to him who is overcome is left much misery.

If you seek rest in this life, how will you, then, come to everlasting rest?  Do not determine to have rest here, but to have patience, and seek true rest not on earth, but in heaven; not in man or in any creature, but in God alone, where true rest is.  You ought gladly to suffer all things for the love of God:  all labors, sorrows, temptations, vexations; all anguish, need, sickness, injuries, evil sayings, reproaches; all oppressions, confusions, corrections, and despisings.  These greatly help a man to virtue; those prove the true knight of Christ and prepare for him a heavenly crown.  And I shall reward him with everlasting reward for his short labor, with infinite glory for his transitory confusion.

Do you believe that you will always have spiritual comfort after your own will?  No, no; My saints did not have such spiritual comfort.  They had many great griefs and various temptations and great desolation, but they bore all with patience, and trusted more in Me than in themselves, for they knew well that the sufferings of this world cannot of themselves merit the glory that is ordained for them in the kingdom of heaven.  Would you expect to have immediately what others before you could scarcely obtain after great weeping and labor?

Await patiently the coming of the Lord.  Do His bidding manfully, be comforted in Him, and do not mistrust Him.  Do not quit His service because of suffering or fear, but expose your body and soul constantly in His honor, in all good physical and spiritual toil, and He will reward you most fully for your good work, and will be with you and help you in every trouble that may befall you.  So may it be.
in hoc signo vinces "in this sign you will conquer".