The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter XXXIII: “The Inconstancy of our Heart, and of Directing our Final Intention to God” (first entry)
In a nutshell, this short chapter simply says that feelings come and go but the wise person is above all these changes and focused on his desired end: eternal life.
|Today’s Gospel reading: Mt 18:15-20
Jesus presents how to handle a particularly difficult matter: what to do when someone close to you sins against you. The correct course of action is to first try to work it out between the aggrieved (who initiates the process) and the offender one-on-one. If this fails, the one offended is to take one or two others with him as he attempts to settle the matter. If the situation has still not been resolved, then it is to be taken it to the Church. Finally, if all attempts fail, the unrepentant person who has committed the offense is to be shunned. Then Christ gives the apostles the power of binding and loosing of sins. Lastly, He tells them (and us) that when two persons agree on a prayer intention it will be granted and where two or three are together in His name, Jesus is in the midst of them.
Kempis provides a prerequisite to Jesus’ instructions toward the end of today’s Gospel. The “single eye” of the intention of the pray-er(s) must be toward Christ. In the Our Father we pray, “thy will be done.” So, at bottom, whatever we ask for must be placed in full trust into God’s hands so that we can accept the disposition of the Divine Will “unshaken.” Having a prayer partner/spiritual director to be a steadying influence when we are being tossed about by life’s waves is wise advice from our Lord.