|The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter XX: ”The Confession of Our Own Weakness, and the Miseries of this Life” (third entry)
The closing words of this chapter (above) serve us well in encapsulating this chapter and, in a very real way, the entire book. Detachment from sin and immoderate sensual pleasure is the key to growing in our relationship with Almighty God. This distancing from the world gives us a clear-eyed view of the fallenness of creatures and a longing for the Creator.
|Today’s second reading: Rm 8:9,11-13
The closing words of Paul’s discourse on “the flesh and the spirit” are recorded in the headline. We are meant for greater things. To settle for the base impulses of the flesh over the Spirit of God in us through Baptism (absent mortal sin) defies Jesus’ frequent call to consider things above rather than to be focused on things below.
It is quite a discipline to live only for God, perfectly despising (not simply avoiding) all that distances us from the Lord. Are we able to do it alone? Not a chance. The good news is that we have the Holy Spirit to help us, who we invite to dwell in us, and who we beg for the gratuitous graces to make it — not easy — but possible to live according to God’s plan for us.
In the closing of today’s Gospel, Jesus says, “my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” It doesn’t seem that way always does it? But just imagine what our challenges would be like without Him? Maybe you’ve experienced the desolation of not having Jesus in your life when things have gone south. Well, He is always there if we just let Him in. Let us beg the Spirit to possess us so that we may “see with greater clearness how grievously the world is mistaken and in how many ways it is deceived” that “by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body” so that “you will live.”