Thomas à Kempis: Wanting no share in comfort

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Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4

“It is not hard to spurn human consolation when we have the divine. It is, however, a very great thing indeed to be able to live without either divine or human comforting and for the honor of God willingly to endure this exile of heart, not to seek oneself in anything, and to think nothing of one’s own merit.

Does it matter much, if at the coming of grace, you are cheerful and devout? This is an hour desired by all, for he whom the grace of God sustains travels easily enough. What wonder if he feel no burden when borne up by the Almighty and led on by the Supreme Guide! For we are always glad to have something to comfort us, and only with difficulty does a man divest himself of self…

A man must fight long and bravely against himself before he learns to master himself fully and to direct all his affections toward God. When he trusts in himself, he easily takes to human consolation. The true lover of Christ, however, who sincerely pursues virtue, does not fall back upon consolations nor seek such pleasures of sense, but prefers severe trials and hard labors for the sake of Christ.”

Thomas à Kempis in “Wanting No Share in Comfort,” chapter 9 of The Imitation of Christ.

As I explore the word “share” in 2022 and how it relates to generosity, I am learning powerful lessons and the year has just started.

In one of the most famous works in church history, Thomas teaches us about “wanting no share in comfort!” Who even thinks about such things?

Well, I am learning that it is the person who has learned to divest himself or herself from self and who has directed all affections toward God.

I am not saying we can’t enjoy the creation and the many gifts of God. The key is to cherish the Giver and not the gifts. That’s the pathway to becoming givers.

Think on these heavenly things. Set your heart on them.