|The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter XXIV: ”That We Should Avoid Curious Inquiry into the Affairs of Others” (first entry)
In this short chapter, Kempis’s thrust, as the title indicates, is that we should not be concerned about what others are doing or even what they think of us (good or bad). Even being “familiar with many” is to be frowned upon as it can lead to “distractions and great darkness in the spirit.” Let God be concerned with others and ultimately judge them. As for us, we are to keep the focus on our own status in the eyes of the Lord; this will keep us busy enough for a lifetime.
|Today’s first reading: Is 26:7-9, 12, 16-19
Isaiah speaks on behalf of the besieged southern kingdom of Judah that is exalting the Lord’s judgment on them, harsh as it is, as just recompense for its sins. Finally, Isaiah acknowledges that they cannot bring about their own salvation but it is only through the Lord that “the dead shall live.”
True peace is found in Jesus. Witness:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. (Jn 14:27)
Kempis’s Christ says to keep the focus on Him to “keep yourself in true peace.” The Israelites also come to realize that peace comes from the Lord — it is He who has really “accomplished all we have done” (a burgeoning understanding of grace in the Chosen People). Jesus Himself, in the quote above, explicitly tells His apostles that it is He, the Prince of Peace (see Is 9:5), metes out the peace that Isaiah speaks of, that tranquility that cannot be found in worldly affairs.
The lesson for us? In a world of increasing turmoil we have a refuge. We must take the time to pray, to read Scripture, to learn the Faith, and to do the good works Jesus commanded of us. When we are able, we should spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament (you can even do it virtually, if necessary), to connect or reconnect with our Savior. Trust in the Lord and “[d]o not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” Let us commit everything to Jesus: our joys, our sorrows, our consolations, and our worries. “Offer it up,” as the nuns told us — our efforts will not be in vain.