|The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter IX: ”That All Things Should be Referred to God as Our Last End” (third entry)
The closing words of this chapter have Kempis sharing the eternal truth that joy and hope must be centered on the Lord alone since no passing thing can rightfully promise these virtues in an enduring way. For His unfailing love and desire for us to be with Him forever, we praise and bless God for who He is, what He has done, and what He will do for those who remain faithful until He calls them home.
|Today’s First Reading: Acts 1:12-14
The alternate first reading gives us the events immediately after Jesus’ Ascension. The Eleven, Our Lady, some other women, and some relatives of the Lord head back to the Upper Room to pray, awaiting the Holy Spirit just promised to them by their Master.
It is important to keep the perspective that Kempis shares with us as we march through the highs and lows in life: always place joy and hope ultimately in God. All things in this life pass: the good and the bad, the joys and the sorrows, the hope and the despair. But if we praise and bless God in all things, we not only dispose ourselves to see God in all things, we also dispose ourselves to see all things as God sees them. The apostles had experienced over the course of Holy Week all those wide ranges of emotions. So, like the apostles, to keep an even keel and focus us on our mission in this life, we too are to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit into our lives, that He possess us, enlighten us, and guide us. We know very little of what Jesus said to the apostles during those forty days before the Ascension, but they knew He was commissioning them to carry on His work. They knew they could not make any progress without God’s help. They placed their hope in the Lord and so must we. Their first instinct in the excerpt from today: praise and bless God and ask for guidance to do it better and to manifest this conviction in their apostolate to others. This seems to me a pretty good formula for us today.