“O service worthy of being embraced and desired, by which one merits the supreme good and acquires the joy that will never end.” (IC 3,10,6) | “You have followed my teaching, way of life, purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, and sufferings … Yet from all these things the Lord delivered me.” (2 Tim 3:10-11)

|The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter X: ”How it is Sweet to Serve God by Despising the World” (fourth entry)

Kempis closes this chapter on the sweetness of serving God with the fitting words above. This way of life that he exalts, when followed faithfully, leads to “the joy that will never end.” Thus, he espouses here, as he has many times before, despising worldly things in order to gain heavenly glory.

|Today’s First Reading: 2 Tm 3:10-17

We once again dip into Paul’s words to Timothy where he again encourages faithfulness through trials (he lists his experiences above) so that they will be delivered as he has been. He also warns of the machinations of those who are out to deceive the people of God. Then he goes on to famously convey the importance of the knowledge of Scripture that is “for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”

|Reflection

The good Lord promised that faithfulness and discipleship will come with trials and suffering. He also promised that those who endure till the end will be eternally rewarded. So, while Kempis looks forward to the “supreme good” and “joy that will never end,” he makes no bones often throughout the book about the challenges that come with attaining this end. The emphasis, though, is that this glorious outcome far outweighs even the worst that this life can throw at us. We are here for just a moment in the timelessness of eternity, yet our everlasting fate depends on how we use that moment. Paul asks his friends to call to mind how he spent his moment in his: “teaching, way of life, purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, and sufferings.” Through insatiable zeal and patient endurance he can say that from the persecutions “the Lord delivered me.” We need to have this same confidence that we will be delivered by Jesus in this life and in the next if we endure in faith, hope, and love.

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