Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Humility as the Key to Spiritual Growth: Thomas a Kempis

The following are highlights that point to many of the roadblocks I have met in my own spiritual growth as a Catholic Christian. May they guide us all to the love of God and indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
VII. “On Concealing Grace and Making Humility its Guardian”
1.  … When you receive the grace of divine comfort, it is not a sign of much progress in the spiritual life; you are making progress, though, if you bear the withdrawal of grace with patience, humility and resignation, not flagging in your zeal for prayer nor completely abandoning the other acts of devotion you are in the habit of performing. Do willingly whatever you can, as best you can and as seems best to you; do not give up attending to your soul on account of any dryness or mental torment you may feel.
2.  … Some people, for want of prudence, have brought about their own downfall through the grace of devotion. They wanted to do more than they were able, taking no account of their own littleness, but obeying the urges of their heart rather than what reason judged to be right. Because they presumed to greater things than God wanted them to, they soon lost his grace.
3. If they mean to follow their own ideas rather than trust others of known experience, their end will be imperilled, but only if they refuse to be weaned from their own conceit. People who think themselves wise are rarely humble enough to let others guide them.
4.  … Remain always humble and unimportant in your own eyes … When the flame of devotion has been kindled in your heart, it is a good idea to consider what is going to happen when that light fails.
5. … a man is meritorious when his spiritual life is based on real humility, when he is full of the love of God; when he is always seeking, purely and wholly, the honour of God; when he thinks of himself as good for nothing, really takes a poor view of himself, and is much happier when others look down on him and humiliate him than when they honour him.

~Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ (Book III, vii, 1-5)