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A Meditation On The Incarnation Of Christ, Sermons On The Life And
Passion Of Our Lord And Of Hearing And Speaking Good Words. -Thomas A Kempis

THE words that I have spoken to you: are spirit and life. If thou desirest to take the holy words of Jesus, turn thyself to interior things: and learn to walk in the spirit. For in the words of Jesus there is life: and in such there is the life of thy spirit. Jesus indeed is the light of ignorance: and the only solace of grief. Listen therefore to the word which proceeds from the mouth of God: and from the lips of blessed Jesus. For the most pure Jesus saith, “Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.” A sublime word: because uttered by the Most High. A great promise: but assured by the supreme Truth. Blessed are the clean of heart. O sweet saying: which rightly calls the soul to the promise of blessedness; since God is the reward: and nothing of earth is mentioned here. If the promised bliss delights; let cleanness of heart delight also: that thou mayest see the God of gods in Sion. Let thy whole attention be watchful to cleanse the heart: and let thy prayer be frequent and fervent. For the pure heart has: an infinite good promised to it. Despise the world then: and thou shalt gain Heaven. Forsake creatures: and thou shalt find the Creator. Leave aside things of time: and eternal things shall be given thee. Heaven and earth cannot be weighed in a like balance: nor can God be enjoyed together with creatures. Who leans on things created: he is hindered from taking leisure in God. He who is clean from worldly things and free from passions: becomes worthy of the heavenly vision. For the more clean a man is: the more pleasing to God is he. God is light: and He loves the lightsome. God is purity: and He casts away the impure. Instable is the love of the world; and every material enjoyment void of content: but what abides for ever, this is the true good of the soul. The love of the supreme good increases: as every earthly thing is despised. Joy will rise to thee interiorly: if thou bravely struggle with vice. And when thou seekest without nothing that passes away: the splendour of the eternal light will shine more brightly. The needs of nature are burdensome to a holy man: but to a chaste heart the pleasure of the flesh is as a torment of hell. For carnal delights beget nought else: but the flames of hell eternal. God grant thee to escape these: and to preserve the dignity of angelic purity. A very great aid to cleanness of heart are perfect contempt of the world; self-denial for the love of Christ: and frequent meditation on the Incarnate Word. Cleanse therefore the mirror of the heart: if thou desirest to gaze upon God. It is most delightful to contemplate the eternal truth and wisdom. The wholesome reformation of the inner man leads to the state of a purer life. But a curious pursuit of the things of the senses: beguiles and confuses the mind. Thou art eagerly drawn to taste interior things by that desirable peace of mind: which they sweetly enjoy, who pass their life in purity. If thou aimest at having the pleasures of this purity; beware of restlessness: and cut off the occasions of unrest. Wish for nothing high, nothing dainty, nothing curious, nothing passing: and thou hast cast away the chief causes of disturbance. He indeed who has turned his back on everything of time; freely advances towards God. For he that is bound by no tie: easily rises to Heaven, when he prays. Neither the weight of the world, nor the softness of the flesh: can hold him back. The keeper of a pure conscience: also passes safely through the powers of the air. Very desirable is this purity of heart: which makes friends to itself of God and the angels. For this grace of the beatitude we must struggle bravely: pray frequently: and toil unweariedly. The beatitude of purity is established in the valley of humility; it is acquired by prayers: and nourished by tears. O how pleasing and beautiful is this virtue, which rises above all passions: and longs to be united with the impassible God. For every evil thing yields to purity: every created thing is subject to it. For it treats with God without exception or reserve: therefore it cannot be vanquished: but in the Almighty it surpasses all things. The things above minister to it: and the things below work together unto its good. The demons flee from it; the angels zealously serve it: the carnal fear it, the spiritual embrace it. Holy David after the humble confession of his sins: begs that cleanness of heart be given him, saying, “Create a clean heart in me, O God.” He weeps over the crimes he has committed, he reproaches himself that he has acted foolishly: he prays that the fall of the flesh be burnt out: so that he may once more be found pure in God’s sight, and be filled with the joy of salvation: nor ever again relapse to evil deeds. This cleanness of heart is a ladder most straight, most glorious, most strong, touching the summit of Heaven, and reaching to the vision of the glory of God: this glory is to all His saints.

O most beautiful Jesus, Author of all purity, Who hast promised eternal joys to the clean of heart: grant me ever to possess this virtue, chosen and precious, brighter than gems and gold: so that with all contagion of sin far removed, with a free mind I may pleasingly serve Thee in the frail flesh; and utterly cast away whatever may hinder purity: and with all my desires strive to cleave to Thee, as long as I live, a poor wretch, amid the storms of the world: until Thou dost bid me stand in Thy sight: and then according to Thy great mercy do Thou deign to be merciful unto me.

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