Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Thomas a Kempis on the Cross
"Renounce yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus." There are many to whom that seems a hard saying; but how much harder will it be to hear that word of final judgment: Go far from me, you that are accursed, into eternal fire. Those who now gladly hear the word of the cross and keep what it commands will not be afraid then when they hear the doom of everlasting loss. It is this sign of the cross that will appear in the sky when the Lord comes to judge us. Then all the servants of the cross, who during their lifetime made the Crucified the pattern of their deeds, will come with great confidence before Christ who is to judge them.
Why then are you afraid to take up your cross? It is your road to the kingdom of Christ. In the cross lies our salvation, our life; in the cross we have defense against our foes. In the cross we have a pouring-in of heavenly sweetness, a strengthening of our minds and spiritual joy. In the cross is the peak of virtue, the perfection of holiness. There is no salvation for our souls, no hope of life everlasting, but in the cross. Take up your cross then, and follow Jesus; and you will go into life that has no end. He has gone ahead of you, bearing his own cross; on that cross he has died for you, that you may bear your own cross and on that cross yearn to die. If you have died together with him, together with him you will have life; if you have shared his suffering you will also share his glory.
From The Imitation of Christ