538) True Comfort Found in God Alone

From chapter 16 in THE IMITATION OF CHRIST by Thomas a Kempis  (1380-1471)

     Whatever I can desire or imagine for my own comfort I look for not here but in the hereafter.  For if I alone should have all the world’s comforts and could enjoy all its delights, it is certain that they could not long endure (Matthew 16:26).  Therefore, my soul, you cannot enjoy full consolation or perfect delight except in God, the consoler of the poor and the helper of the humble.  Wait a little while, my soul, wait for the divine promise, and you will have an abundance of all good things in heaven.  If you desire these present things too much, you will lose those which are everlasting and heavenly.  Let temporal things be used, but desire eternal things.  You cannot be satisfied with any temporal goods because you were not created to enjoy these alone.  Even if you possessed all created things, you could not be happy and blessed; for it is only in God, who created all these things, that your whole blessedness and happiness can be found.  This is indeed not the fleeting happiness that is seen and praised by lovers of the world.  Rather, it is the happiness for which the good and faithful servants of Christ await (Philippians 3:20), and of which even here they may sometimes have a foretaste.  Vain and brief is all human consolation.  Blessed and true is that which is received inwardly from the Truth.  The devout man carries everywhere with him his own Comforter, Jesus, and says unto Him:  “Be with me, Lord Jesus, in every place and at all times.  Let this be my consolation, to be cheerfully willing to do without all human comfort.  And if, for a time, you withhold all such comfort from me, then may I let your will and just trial of me be my greatest comfort.”

 

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Matthew 16:26  —  (Jesus said), “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?  Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Matthew 16:24-25  —  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”

Philippians 3:17-20  —  Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.  For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame.  Their mind is on earthly things.  But our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Almighty and everlasting God, who hast preserved me by thy fatherly care through all the years of my life…, (grant now) that the disquiet of my mind may be appeased, that my faith may be increased, my hope strengthened, and my life regulated by thy will.  Make me truly thankful for that portion of my health which thy mercy has restored, and enable me to use the remains of life to thy glory and my own salvation…  Extinguish in my mind all sinful and inordinate desires.  Let me resolve to do that which is right, and let me by thy help keep my resolutions.  Let me, if it be best for me, at last know peace and comfort; but whatever state of life Thou shalt appoint me, let me end it by a happy death, and enjoy eternal happiness in thy presence…  Amen.

–Samuel Johnson (1770)

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