|The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter X: ”How it is Sweet to Serve God by Despising the World” (first entry)
In this chapter, Kempis focuses on those who, like himself, have dedicated themselves to the vowed religious life. Yet, like almost all of this book, the principles he espouses have wide applicability. Case in point, the quite above. We are all to “subject” ourselves to the “holy service of God.” Not only, in following our calling, will we receive “great grace,” but Kempis goes on to say that this also leads to “sweet consolation” and “great freedom.”
|Today’s First Reading: 2 Pt 3:12-15a, 17-18
This excerpt from 2 Peter gives us the first pope’s words at the very end of the letter. Peter encourages his readers to “be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace” while they “[w]ait for and hasten the coming of the day of God.” They must not be led astray by the unprincipled but to do what it says in the headline.
Peter’s letter tells us to grow in God’s grace. Kempis gives us an important — vital, really — way to do this: become subject to God. That is, “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5). These wise and final Scriptural words of the Mother of Our Lord, are meant for all Christians for all time. As Peter says, we are to grow in the knowledge of Jesus. Good books, preeminently the Bible, and then the Catechism of the Catholic Church, will assist us in getting to know Jesus better. This must be combined with prayer — developing a personal intimacy with Christ. And the highest prayer, the Mass, brings Jesus to us in the way par excellence: the Eucharist. To prepare for receiving Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament we go to Confession. Sacraments are the ordinary means in which we receive sanctifying grace. Let’s frequently take advantage of these great gifts given to the Church by its Head for our help and salvation.