Chapter IV of Book III of Thomas à Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ: “How We Should Live in God’s Presence in Truth and Humility.” In this chapter, Kempis continues two prevalent themes in this work: veritas and humilitas. Seek truth from God and not the world and remember your own wretchedness and the need for grace to do anything good. Above, Kempis has Christ respond in this way to the disciple who asks to be taught, guarded, and kept in this life so that he can attain eternal life.
Today’s Gospel (Jn 15:12-17) repeats the last six verses of yesterday’s reading in which Jesus commands (and then reiterates to) His disciples to love one another if they wish to remain in his friendship.
In human relationships, we would not expect to remain in good standing with friends if we constantly betrayed and scorned them. We would likely think something was wrong with them if they continued to accept this sort of behavior from us. Why, then, would we think that, with Almighty God, anything goes? It is true, of course, that the Lord awaits our return, no matter how egregious our behavior toward Him or our fellow mortals. But He will not save us against our will. Now, He has been very generous to us in giving us Divine Revelation safeguarded by the Church as the fountain of truth to rightly satiate our thirsty consciences. But, if we do not listen, if we wish to sever those ties with God, we have only ourselves to blame — we condemn ourselves.
So let us always strive for the Truth, that is, Jesus because, as He said:
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)
Jesus saying farewell to his eleven remaining disciples (1308-1311) by Duccio