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THE IMITATION OF CHRIST

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BOOK THREE
INTERNAL CONSOLATION

Liber Tertius
De interna consolatine.

Chapter 53
GOD'S GRACE
IS NOT GIVEN TO THE EARTHLY MINDED

THE VOICE OF CHRIST - MY CHILD, my grace is precious. It does not allow itself to be mixed with external things or with earthly consolations. Cast away all obstacles to grace, therefore, if you wish to receive its infusion. Seek to retire within yourself. Love to dwell alone with yourself. Seek no man's conversation, but rather pour forth devout prayer to God that you may keep your mind contrite and your heart pure. Consider the whole world as nothing. Prefer attendance upon God to all outward occupation, for you cannot attend upon Me and at the same time take delight in external things. You must remove yourself from acquaintances and from dear friends, and keep your mind free of all temporal consolation. Thus the blessed Apostle St. Peter begs the faithful of Christ to keep themselves as strangers and pilgrims in the world.

Cap. 53.
De gratia quæ non miscetur
terrena sapientibus.

1. Fili, prætiosa est gratia mea, non patitur se misceri extraneis rebus, nec consolationibus terrenis. Abjicere ergo oportet omnia impedimenta gratiæ, si optas ejus infusionem suscipere. Pete secretum tibi; ama solus habitare tecum, nullius require confabulatinem, sed magis ad Deum devotam effunde precem, ut devotam teneas mentem, et puram conscientiam. Totum mundum nihil exstima, Dei vacationem omnibus exterioribus antepone. Non enim poteris mihi vacare et in transitoriis pariter delectari. A notis et a charis oportet elongari et ab omni temporali solatio mentem tenere privatam. Sic obsecrat beatus Apostolus Petrus, ut tanquam advenas et peregrinos in hoc mundo se contineant Christi fideles.  

What great confidence at the hour of death shall be his who is not attached to this world by any affection. But the sickly soul does not know what it is to have a heart thus separated from all things, nor does the natural man know the liberty of the spiritual man. Yet, if he truly wishes to be spiritual, he must renounce both strangers and friends, and must beware of no one more than himself. If you completely conquer yourself, you will more easily subdue all other things. The perfect victory is to triumph over self. For he who holds himself in such subjection that sensuality obeys reason and reason obeys Me in all matters, is truly his own conqueror and master of the world.   2. O, quanta fiducia erit morituro, quem nullius rei affectus detinet in mundo. Sed sic segregatum cor habere in omnibus, æger necdum capit animus, nec animalis homo novit interni hominis libertatem. Attamen si vere velit esse spiritualis, oportet eum renuntiare tam remotis, quam propinquis, et a nemine magis cavere, quam a se ipso. Si te ipsum perfecte viceris, cætera facilis subjugabis. Perfecta namque victoria est de semetipso triumphare: qui enim semetipsum subjectum tenet, ut sensualitas rationi, et ratio in cunctis obediat mihi, hic vere victor sui est et dominus mundi.  
Now, if you wish to climb to this high position you must begin like a man, and lay the ax to the root, in order to tear out and destroy any hidden unruly love of self or of earthly goods. From this vice of too much self-love comes almost every other vice that must be uprooted. And when this evil is vanquished, and brought under control, great peace and quiet will follow at once. But because few labor to die entirely to self, or tend completely away from self, therefore they remain entangled in self, and cannot be lifted in spirit above themselves. But he who desires to walk freely with Me must mortify all his low and inordinate affections, and must not cling with selfish love or desire to any creature.  

 

 

3. Si ad hunc apicem scandere gliscis, oportet viriliter incipere et securim ad radicem ponere, ut evellas et destruas occultam in inordinatam inclinationem ad te ipsum et ad omne privatum inclinationem ad te ipsum et ad omne privatum et materiale bonum. Ex hoc vitio quod homo semetipsum nimis inordinate diligit, pene totum pendet quidquid radicaliter vincendum est, quo devicto et subacto malo, pax magna et tranquillitas erit continuo. Sed quia pauci sibi ipsi mori perfecte laborant, nec plene extra se tendunt, propterea in se implicati remanent, nec supra se elevari in spiritu possunt. Qui autem libere mecum ambulare desiderat, necesse est, ut omnes pravas et inordinatas affectiones suas mortificet atque nulli creaturæ privato amore concupiscenter inhæreat.
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