Kempis relates the hazards of not keeping up an intimate friendship with Jesus (2,8): we quickly find hardness of heart, dryness of soul, and self-centeredness when we push Jesus away in favor of worldly interests and immoral enticements.
Jesus shares the words above in His closing argument to Nicodemus in yesterday’s Gospel (Jn 3:16-21). Earlier in the conversation, the Lord declares Himself “the light [that] came into the world” (a common theme in John’s Gospel — see also Jn 8:12 and Jn 1:4-5). Those who believe have been en”light”ened. Those who obstinately reject the Light of Truth are condemned eternally to the darkness they embraced in life.
Nicodemus was on the right track coming to Jesus, to approach the light to try to gain clarity about this rabbi and His testimony. Seeing this opening and openness, the Messiah challenges him (and us) further. Stick with Jesus, look to the Light, to stay on the straight and narrow. Wasn’t it Christ who said:
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. (Mt 7:13)
If a blind person leads a blind person, both will fall into a pit. (Mt 15:14)
The Light makes the safe path plain. The Light gives clear sight and allows us to help others along this trail. Hardness of heart, aridity, foolhardiness, and vanity will not be mentioned in conjunction with us if we stay close to the Light, when we keep our constant companion, Jesus, close to our hearts.