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Monday, July 31, 2006

A Free Mind

From The Imitation Of Christ

Chapter 26

The Excellence of a Free Mind, Which is gained By Humble Prayer rather than by Reading


Lord, this is the work of a perfect man, never to let one's mind slacken from attending to heavenly things and to pass through many cares, as it were without care, not like one torpid, but by a certain prerogative of a free mind, which does not cleave by an inordinate affection to anything created.

2. Preserve me, I beseech thee, O my most merciful God, from the cares of this life-LUKE XXI. 34, that I be not too much entangled by them; from the many necessities of the body, that I may not be ensnared by pleasure, and from all hindrances of the soul, lest being over-come by troubles I be cast down.

I do not say from those things which wordly vanity covets with so much eagerness, but from those miseries, which, by the general curse of our morality, as punishments weigh down and keep back the soul of Thy servant from being able, when it will, to enter into liberty of spirit.

3. O my God, who art unspeakable sweetness, turn into bitterness for me all carnal comfort which withdraws me from the love of things eternal, and wickedly allures me to itself, by setting before me a certain present delightful good.

O my God, let not flesh and blood prevail over me- 1 COR. Xv. 50, let it not overcome me; let not the world and its transitory glory deceive me-JOHN II. 17; let not the devil overreach me by his devices.- 2 COR. II. 11.

Give me fortitude that I may stand my ground; patience, that I may endure, and constancy, that I may persevere.

Give me, in lieu of all the comforts of this world, the most delightful unction of Thy Spirit, and instead of carnal love, infuse into me the love of Thy name.

4. Behold! eating, drinking, clothing, and other necessaries appertaining to the support of the body, are burdensome to a fervent spirit.-WIS. IX. 15.

Grant that I may use such things with moderation, and not be entangled with inordinate affection.

It is not lawful to cast them all away, for nature must be supported; but to require superfluities and such things as are most delightful thy holy law forbids; for otherwise the flesh would grow insolent against the spirit.-GAL. V. 17.

In all this I beseech Thee let Thy hand govern and direct me, that I may no way exceed.


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