We now consider Chapter X of Book II of Thomas à Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ. It is entitled: “Of Gratitude to God for His Grace.” It continues the theme of last chapter in that we are to not crave consolations but rather to be grateful to God for all things and to look to grow in humility. In the quote on which we are focusing, the author gives the antidote for any possibility of vainglory (excessive or ostentatious pride especially in one’s achievements — Merriam-Webster) by focusing on the truth of God and the heavenly glory that awaits those who are faithful to it.
The extraordinarily long Psalm 119 (119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30) focuses entirely on the importance of obedience to God’s commands. The psalmist, recognizing that the Lord’s word is truth expresses his desire to know and follow the laws and statutes set down in Scripture. As he says above, he keeps God’s ordinances always before him, ensuring that he stays on the right path.
Both Kempis and the psalmist focus on humility whether explicitly (in Kempis’s case) or implicitly (in the psalmist’s case). Humility acknowledges the truth: God is God and we are not. The Lord knows what is best for us. What reason do we have to puff up ourselves when we owe everything to our Creator? The truth itself is a gift — we don’t need to work it out on our own. Some folks find this restrictive but it is anything but confining. Rather, it is freeing.
If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (Jn 8:31-32)
For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. (Gal 5:1)
The truth sets us free; it is sin that enslaves us. We are to stand firm in it despite the world that relativizes it at best (see Jn 18:38) and militates against it at worst (see Jn 8:44-45). Thank the Lord that He established a Church in which the truth is safeguarded until the end of time providing us the sure path to heaven we are to follow.