The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis was one of St. Therese of Liseux's favorite books of spiritual reading. She felt Christ's infinite love when she meditated on it. St. Ignatius of Loyola was said to have only one book in his room when he died -- again, The Imitation of Christ. The influence Thomas a Kempis had on Ignatius' development of the Spiritual Exercises is obvious to anyone who's made them. Reading a chapter a day (very short) offers sound nourishment for the soul.
As we approach the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, what better contemplation than to desire to conform our wills to Christ's. And so I offer this meditation today. We live in perilous and challenging times. Christ invites us not to fear the one who can only kill the body, but to conform our wills to his own for the salvation of our souls. Nothing "just happens." If God allows it in our lives, it is for our benefit. Embrace the joys; embrace the sorrows and you will always have a heart filled with the peace of Christ.
MY CHILD, allow me to do what I will with you. I know what is best for you. You think as a man; you feel in many things as human affection persuades.
Lord, what You say is true. Your care for me is greater than all the care I can take of myself. For he who does not cast all his care upon You stands very unsafely. If only my will remain right and firm toward You, Lord, do with me whatever pleases You. For whatever You shall do with me can only be good.
If You wish me to be in darkness, I shall bless You. And if You wish me to be in light, again I shall bless You. If You stoop down to comfort me, I shall bless You, and if You wish me to be afflicted, I shall bless You forever.
THE VOICE OF CHRIST
My child, this is the disposition which you should have if you wish to walk with Me. You should be as ready to suffer as to enjoy. You should as willingly be destitute and poor as rich and satisfied. [We hear the future St. Ignatius in this admonition who tells his followers to be detached from all things, not to prefer riches over poverty, health over sickness, honor over dishonor, or long life over short life. To desire only the will of God and offer all to his praise and reverence leads us to salvation.]
O Lord, I shall suffer willingly for Your sake whatever You wish to send me. I am ready to accept from Your hand both good and evil alike, the sweet and the bitter together, sorrow with joy; and for all that happens to me I am grateful. Keep me from all sin and I will fear neither death nor hell. Do not cast me out forever nor blot me out of the Book of Life, and whatever tribulation befalls will not harm me.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, conform my heart and will to yours.