PRAYER: Prayers Of Thomas à Kempis

Prayers Of Thomas à Kempis

How to Rest in God Alone Above All Things

Grant me, most dear and loving Jesus, to rest in you above created things; above health and beauty, above all glory and honor; above all power and dignity, above all knowledge and skill; above all fame and praise, above all sweetness and consolation; above all hope and promise, above all merit and desire; above all gifts and favors that you can bestow and shower upon us; above all joy and jubilation that the mind can conceive and know; above angels and archangels and all the hosts of Heaven; above all things visible and invisible; and above everything that is not yourself, O my God.

O Lord, my God, you transcend all things.  You alone are most high, most mighty, most sufficient and complete, most sweet and comforting.  You alone are most full of beauty and glory, in whom all good things in their perfection exist, both now and ever have been, and ever will be.  All, therefore, is too small and unsatisfying that you can give me beside yourself, or that you can reveal and promise me of yourself unless I can see and fully possess you.  For my heart cannot rest nor be wholly content until it rests in you, rising above all your gifts and creatures.

O Lord Jesus Christ, spouse of the soul, lover of purity, and Lord of creation, who will give me wings of perfect liberty, that I may fly to you, and be at rest?  When shall I be set free, and taste your sweetness, O Lord, my God?  When shall I become recollected in you, that for love of you alone in a manner not known to all men, and above all perception and measure?  But now I mourn and bear my unhappy lot with grief, for many evils happen in this vale of sorrows, which often disturb, sadden, and darken my path.  They often hinder and distract, entice, and entangle me, so that I cannot approach you freely, nor yet enjoy the sweet embrace which you prepare for the souls of the blessed.

O Jesus, brightness of eternal glory and comfort of the pilgrim soul, hear my cry, and regard my utter desolation.  Words fail me in your presence; let my silence speak for me.  How long will my Lord delay his coming?  Come to me, Lord, poor and little as I am, and bring me joy.  Stretch out your hand, and deliver me from all my misery and pain.  Come, Lord, come, for without you no day or hour is happy; without you my table is without its guest, for you alone are my joy.  Sadness is my lot, and I am like a man imprisoned and loaded with chains, until you refresh me with the light of your presence, and show me your face as my friend.  Let others seek whom they will besides you, but nothing ever can or will give me joy but yourself alone, my God, my hope, and my eternal salvation.  I will not keep silent, nor cease from urgent prayer till your grace returns and my heart leaps at the sound of your voice.


A Prayer for the Grace of Devotion

O Lord, my God, you are my all and every good.  And what am I, that I should presume to address you?  I am the poorest of your servants and a wretched worm, far more poor and worthless than I can ever realize or express.  Yet, Lord, remember that I am nothing: I have nothing, and can do nothing.  You alone are good, just and holy; you can do all things, fill all things, bestow all things, leaving only the wicked empty-handed.  Remember your mercies, Lord, and fill my heart with your grace, since it is your will that none of your works should be worthless.  How can I endure this life of sorrows, unless you strengthen me with your mercy and grace?  Do not turn your face from me; do not delay your coming, nor withdraw your consolation form me, lest my soul become like a waterless desert.  Teach me, O Lord, to do your will; teach me to live worthily and humbly in your sight; for you are my wisdom, who know me truly, and who knew me before the world was made, and before I had my being.


On the Wonderful Effect of Divine Love

Deepen your love in me, O Lord, that I may learn in my inmost heart how sweet it is to love, to be dissolved, and to plunge myself into your love.  Let your love possess and raise me above myself, with a fervor and wonder beyond imagination.  Let me sing the song of love.  Let me follow you, my beloved, into the heights.  Let my soul spend itself in your praise, rejoicing for love.  Let me love you more than myself, and myself only for your own sake.  Let me love all men who truly love you, as the law of love commands, which shines out from you.

Love is swift, pure, tender, joyful, and pleasant.  Love is strong, patient, faithful, prudent, long-suffering, vigorous, and never self-seeking.  For when a man is self-seeking he abandons love.  Love is watchful, humble, and upright; love is not fickle and sentimental, nor is it intent on vanities.  It is sober, pure, steadfast, quiet, and guarded in all the senses. Love is submissive and obedient to superiors, mean and contemptible in its own sight, devoted and thankful to God, trusting and hoping in him even when not enjoying his sweetness; for none can live in love without suffering.

Whoever is not prepared to endure everything, and to stand firmly by the will of the beloved, is not worthy to be called a lover.  A lover must willingly accept every hardship and bitterness for the sake of his beloved, and must never desert him because of adversity.


1 Comment on PRAYER: Prayers Of Thomas à Kempis

  1. A blessing to read a Kempis again! Some months ago, I had told myself to pull his book from the shelf again and this was a good reminder why. I used a sentence of his as the epigraph for a chapter in one book: “We were better and purer at the beginning of our confession than after many years of our profession.l”


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