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Following Christ's Example in the World – Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ (c. 1418)

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Chapter 25

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6. Remind yourself of the undertaking to which you are committed, and then go and look at your Crucifix. You’ve good reason to be ashamed, haven’t you, when you think of the life Jesus Christ lived—all these years in religion, and so little attempt, even now, to make him your model! If he meditates on the holy life and Passion of our Lord, any religious can find there all that he needs, and more than he needs, for his soul’s profit; he won’t want to look for better subjects elsewhere. Jesus crucified! If only we could get that into our hearts, all the learning we need would be ours in no time.

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10. It’s not till a man reaches the stage of refusing consolation from any created thing, that he gets his first real taste of God. By that time, he has learned to be content, however things fall out; he won’t be elated by big results, or disappointed with small ones. In utter confidence he takes his stand upon God, who is everything to him in every connection; the God for whom nothing is ever lost, nothing ever perishes—to whom everything is alive, obeying, instantly, the least expression of his will.

11. Keep on reminding yourself that life comes to an end, and lost time never returns to us. You aren’t going to form any good habits without taking trouble over it, working hard for it. The moment you begin to cool off, trouble starts. You must throw yourself into it whole-heartedly; then you will experience great peace of mind, and all your labor will seem light; God’s grace and the love of holy living will carry you along. Meanwhile, there’s more hard work in it, this fight against your bad habits and your passions, than in the sweat of bodily exertion. The man who doesn’t keep clear of petty faults will gradually slip into graver ones. A day spent profitably means an evening spent cheerfully. Watch yourself, spur yourself on, check yourself with a warning now and again; whatever claims other people have on you, don’t let your own soul suffer from neglect. The more constraint you put on yourself, the more progress you will make; that is certain.

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