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THE IMITATION OF CHRIST

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BOOK THREE
INTERNAL CONSOLATION

Liber Tertius
De interna consolatine.

Chapter 11
THE LONGINGS OF OUR HEARTS MUST BE EXAMINED AND MODERATED

THE VOICE OF CHRIST - MY CHILD, it is necessary for you to learn many things which you have not yet learned well.

THE DISCIPLE - What are they, Lord?

THE VOICE OF CHRIST - That you conform your desires entirely according to My good pleasure, and be not a lover of self but an earnest doer of My will. Desires very often inflame you and drive you madly on, but consider whether you act for My honor, or for your own advantage. If I am the cause, you will be well content with whatever I ordain. If, on the other hand, any self-seeking lurk in you, it troubles you and weighs you down.

Cap. 11.
Quod desideria cordis examinanda
sunt et moderanda.

1. Fili, oportet te adhuc multa discere, quŠ necdum bene didicisti.

QuŠ sunt hŠc, Domine?

ut desiderium tuum ponas totaliter secundum beneplacitum meum, et tui ipsius amator non sis: sed meŠ voluntatis cupidus amator et Šmulator. Desideria te sŠpe accendunt, et vehementer impellunt; sed considera an propter meum, an propter honorem tuum vel commodum magis movearis. Si ego sum in causa, bene contentus eris quomodocumque ordinavero. Si autem de proprio quŠstu aliquid latet, ecce hoc est quod te impedit et gravat.

Take care, then, that you do not rely too much on preconceived desire that has no reference to Me, lest you repent later on and be displeased with what at first pleased you and which you desired as being for the best. Not every desire which seems good should be followed immediately, nor, on the other hand, should every contrary affection be at once rejected. It is sometimes well to use a little restraint even in good desires and inclinations, lest through too much eagerness you bring upon yourself distraction of mind; lest through your lack of discipline you create scandal for others; or lest you be suddenly upset and fall because of resistance from others. 2. Cave ergo ne nimium innitaris super desiderio prŠconcepto, me non consulto, ne forte postea pŠniteat et displiceat quod primo placuit, et quasi pro meliore zelasti. Non enim omnis affectio, quŠ videtur bona, statim est sequenda: sed neque omnis contraria affectio ad primum fugienda. Expedit interdum refrŠnatione uti, etiam in bonis studiis et desideriis, ne per importunitatem mentis distractionem incurra, ne aliis per indisciplinationem scandalum generes, vel etiam per resistentiam aliorum subito turberis et corruas.  
Sometimes, however, you must use violence and resist your sensual appetite bravely. You must pay no attention to what the flesh does or does not desire, taking pains that it be subjected, even by force, to the spirit. And it should be chastised and forced to remain in subjection until it is prepared for anything and is taught to be satisfied with little, to take pleasure in simple things, and not to murmur against inconveniences. 3. Interdum vero oportet violentia uti, et viriliter appetitui sensitivo contraire, nec advertere quid velit caro, et quid non velit; sed hoc magis fatagere ut subjecta sit etiam nolens spiritui, et tamdiu castigari debet et cogi servituti subesse, donec parata sit ad omnia, paucisque contentari discat, et simplicibus delectari nec contra aliquod inonveniens murmurare.
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