Sunday, May 15, 2016

Emotional Misgivings: 'The Imitation of Christ' by Thomas a Kempis

1. Often you feel within you the flame of desire, urging you insistently forward; but you ought to consider which motive spurs you the more—my honour, or your own advantage. If it is on my account that you act, you will be perfectly happy, however I make things turn out; if, on the other hand, there is a certain amount of self-interest concealed among your motives, you have something there which you will find a bar and a drag.

2. You must beware, then, of placing over much reliance on any preconceived desire of your own, forgetting to ask my advice. You might regret it later on and come to dislike what at first took your fancy, something you were eager for as being a change for the better. You must not immediately follow the lead of every feeling that you consider good; on the other hand, a feeling that runs counter to your own leanings is not to be rejected out of hand.

~Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ (Book III, 11, 1-2)