I’m not much of a resolutions kind of person, but I have decided to reread the little book The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis throughout 2015.
While I pretty much expect to go from front to back in order, I stumbled across a passage that caught my eye: book 3, chapter 59. I had marked it AND highlighted portions back in the late ’90s when I first read this book.
It’s in the form of a prayer from a person who is simply identified as “Disciple.” In other chapters, we read of Christ’s response, but it’s just the Disciple praying here.
He starts with a question:
“My Lord, God, what can I depend on in this life, or what is my greatest solace on earth? Is it not You, my God, Whose mercy is infinite? Where have things gone well with me without You, and where have things gone badly for me when you were with me?”
The Disciple then identifies that God alone is all he really desires and then he says:
“And so I come to the realization that I cannot fully trust in anyone to help me in my necessities save only You – my hope, my trust, my comfort, and my most faithful Friend.”
Section 2 continues:
“All persons look out for their own interests; You seek only my salvation and my benefit, turning all good things to my good. Even though You permit me to be tested by various temptations and all sorts of trials, You do so for my profit.”
But it’s the declaration that begins in section 3 is it really caught my eye. “Therefore, in You, O my God, I place all my hope and fly to You for refuge. On You, I cast all my troubles and anxieties; for all his uncertainty weakness and instability outside of you.
“Many friends cannot help me; influential people are of no avail; consulting the wise will not give me the answers I require; the books of the learned can bring me no inspiration; nor is there any precious substance to ransom me, no secret hiding place to shelter me. Only you yourself, my God, can stand by me, help me, comfort, counsel, teach and defend me.”
Later in section 4 there is this little prayerful declaration that strikes deep into my heart as I think and plan what I want to be like on New Year’s Day next year.
“To you, O Lord, the Father of mercy, I raise my eyes, and In You alone, my God, I put my trust. Bless and sanctify my soul with Your heavenly benediction; may it become a holy place where You may dwell – the place of Your eternal glory. Let nothing be found in this temple that may offend the eyes of Your Divine Majesty.”
You know, that’s enough to start a new resolution any day of the year, but it seems especially appropriate as we started new year!
Oh God, this is my prayer as well: Bless and sanctify my soul with Your heavenly benediction; may it become a holy place where You may dwell – the place of Your eternal glory.”