Christ, by Thomas á Kempis: Book 3, Chapter 13
Of the Obedience of One in Humble Subjection,
After the Example of Jesus Christ
My son, he that
endeavoreth to withdraw himself from obedience, withdraweth himself
from grace; and he who seeketh for himself private benefit (Matt.
16:24), loseth those which are common. He that doth not cheerfully and
freely submit himself to his superior, it is a sign that his flesh is
not as yet perfectly obedient unto him, but oftentimes kicketh and
murmureth against him. Learn thou therefore quickly to submit thyself
to thy superior, if thou desire to keep thine own flesh under the yoke.
For more speedily is the outward enemy overcome, if the inward man be
not laid waste. There is no worse nor more troublesome enemy to the
soul than thou art unto thyself, if thou be not well in harmony with
the Spirit. It is altogether necessary that thou take up a true
contempt for thyself, if thou desire to prevail against flesh and
blood. Because as yet thou lovest thyself too inordinately, therefore
thou art afraid to resign thyself wholly to the will of others. And
yet, what great matter is it, if thou, who art but dust and nothing,
subject thyself to a man for God's sake, when I, the Almighty and the
Most Highest who created all things of nothing, humbly subjected Myself
to man for thy sake?
I became of all men the most humble and the most abject (Luke 2:7; John
13:14), that thou mightest overcome thy pride with My humility. O dust!
learn to be obedient. Learn to humble thyself, thou earth and clay, and
to bow thyself down under the feet of all men. Learn to break thine own
wishes, and to yield thyself to all subjection.
Prayers for the First Week