|The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter VI: ”The Proof of a True Lover” (first entry)
What is the proof of a true lover of God? He “remains firm in the midst of temptations,” loves the giver more than the gift, keeps firm in his resolutions, and is steadfast in “continuous humility.” As is noted above, the devil hates all of these qualities and does not tire of attempting to draw us away from these noble dispositions.
|Today’s Gospel Reading, Jn 16:16-20
Jesus’ Last Supper Discourse continues with His mysterious words to the apostles that they would soon not see Him for a little while but then a short time later they would see Him. They don’t understand what He means. The close of this reading (above) is Jesus’ response to their questioning; He answers indirectly by telling them what their reaction will be to His departure versus how the worldly will react. This will be made manifest the next day upon Jesus’ death and burial.
A sinful world did not want to hear Jesus’ convict it with the truth during His time on earth and it wants even less to be convicted in our time. There is much rejoicing among the worldly when Christianity is pushed out of the public square and all strains of moral evil are given exalted praise and free rein. And even when the Faith is relegated to obscurity, that is not enough for the wicked — it must compromise its values or be eliminated entirely. This is the work of the devil, the one whom Kempis has Christ speaking of in the passage in the headline. The fallen world pays keen attention to the “old adversary,” as Kempis calls him in this chapter, and rejoices with him when the Church takes blows and loses power, influence, and authority. Meanwhile, those who remain faithful grow increasingly downcast at the state of our culture.
Yet, those who mourn now but remain faithful to the end will receive their reward:
Blessed is the man who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proved he will receive the crown of life that he promised to those who love him. (Jas 1:12)
Those who laugh now in their immorality should pay close attention to the following words of Scripture:
Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor 6:9-10)
Then mourning will turn to joy, and joy to mourning:
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Mt 5:4)
Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep. (Lk 6:25b)