Archive for July 11th, 2019

Thursday, 11 July 2019

The Wondrous Working of the Love of God by Thomas à Kempis (von Kempen/Hemerken/Hammerlein)

Father of heaven, I bless Thee,
Father of Jesus Christ, my Lord,
That Thou hast deigned to think of me in poverty.
Father of mercies, God of consolation,
Thanks be to Thee,
Who, now and then, with Thy consoling words
Refreshest me, unworthy of all comfort.
I bless Thee always, and I give Thee glory
With Thine own Son, the One-begotten,
And with the Holy Ghost the Comforter,
World without end.
Ah, my Lord God, my holy Lover,
When Thou comest to my heart
All my inward life is glad.
Thou art my glory,
Thou art He that maketh glad my soul,
My help, my haven.
When I am in trouble.

But since I am so weak in love, and of imperfect character,
I need to be consoled and spoken kindly to by Thee.
Therefore come often to me,
Instruct me in Thy holy rules,
Free me from evil passions,
Make my heart clean from all ill-ordered loves,
That I be in health within and throughly purged,
Fit to be a lover,
Brave to be a sufferer,
Firm to go onwards to the end.

Love is a great thing,
A blessing very good,
The only thing that makes all burdens light,
Bearing evenly what is uneven,
Carrying a weight, not feeling it,
Turning all bitterness to a sweet savour.
The noble love of Jesus drives men on to do great deeds,
And always rouses them to long for what is better.
Love would be lifted up,
Not held by any thing of earth.
It would be free,
A stranger to the affection of the world,
That its view within may not be blurred,
For fear it get into the nets of temporal happiness
Or for some unhappiness lie down and die.

Nothing is sweeter, stronger, broader, higher,
Fuller, better, or more pleasant in the heaven or earth.
It is the child of God,
Nor can it rest except in Him
Above the world created.
The lover runs and flies and is alive with joy,
Free, unrestrained,
Gives all for all,
Has all in all,
In one alone he rests, all else neglected,
From whom all comes and flows;
Looks not to gifts,
But turns unto the giver above all.

It often knows no limit,
It boils above all measure,
Its fervour knows no stop.
It feels no weight,
Makes light of toil,
Would do more than it can,
Pleads no impossibility,
Because it thinks it can and may do all.
So it is strong for anything,
Is everywhere,
Gives men a title to do work,
Where he that loves not faints and fails.
In its vigils it may sleep, but yet it dozes not;
Wearied, it is not worn;
Bound, it is not confined;
Frightened, it is not dismayed;
But like a living flame, a burning torch,
It bursts on high, and safely goes through all.
If any loves,
He knows what these words mean.
It is a great shout in the ears of God,
That fierce heart’s love, that says,
“My Lord, my God,
Thou art all mine; I, Thine.”

Enlarge me in Thy love,
That my heart’s lips may learn to taste how sweet it is,
To melt and swim in it.
May I be holden by it,
Going above myself for very fervour and for wonder.
Let me sing a song of love,
Let me follow my Beloved to the deep,
Let my soul faint in praise of Thee,
Crying for love.
Let me love Thee
More than I love myself;
Let me not love myself
Except for Thee.
Let me love all in Thee —
I, who truly love Thee
As love’s law bids me,
That takes its light from Thee.
Love is swift, sincere.
Pious, pleasant, and delightsome,
Brave, patient, faithful,
Careful, long-suffering, manly,
Never seeking its own good;
For where a man looks for himself,
He falls away from love.

Careful, humble, right,
Not weak, not light, aiming not at empty things,
Sober and chaste, firm and quiet,
With all the senses guarded well,
It is subject and obedient to superiors,
Lowly and scorned by its own eyes,
Pious and pleasing unto God,
Trusting and hoping ever in Him,
Even when He is not nigh;
For without grief, one cannot live in love.
The man that is not ready to suffer all,
And stand to do the loved One’s will,
Is not worthy to be called a lover.
A lover should embrace all that is hard and bitter
For the sake of Him he loves,
And not be turned away from love
For any crosses that may come.

From: Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ. Now for the first time set forth in rhythmic sentences According to the original Intention of  the Author, 1895, A. D. F. Randolph Company: New York, pp. 170-174.

Date: c1418-1427 (original in Latin); 1889 (translation in English)

By: Thomas à Kempis (von Kempen/Hemerken/Hammerlein) (c1380-1471)

Translated by: Henry Parry Liddon (1829-1890)