The Wonderful Effect of Divine
By Thomas Kempis
I BLESS You, O heavenly Father, Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, for having
condescended to remember me, a poor creature. Thanks to You, O Father of mercies,
God of all consolation, Who with Your comfort sometimes refresh me, who am
not worthy of it. I bless You always and glorify You with Your only-begotten
Son and the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, forever and ever.
Ah, Lord God, my holy Lover, when You come into my heart, all that is within
me will rejoice. You are my glory and the exultation of my heart. You are
my hope and refuge in the day of my tribulation. But because my love is as
yet weak and my virtue imperfect, I must be strengthened and comforted by
You. Visit me often, therefore, and teach me Your holy discipline. Free me
from evil passions and cleanse my heart of all disorderly affection so that,
healed and purified within, I may be fit to love, strong to suffer, and firm
Love is an excellent thing, a very great blessing, indeed. It makes every
difficulty easy, and bears all wrongs with equanimity. For it bears a burden
without being weighted and renders sweet all that is bitter. The noble love
of Jesus spurs to great deeds and excites longing for that which is more perfect.
Love tends upward; it will not be held down by anything low. Love wishes to
be free and estranged from all worldly affections, lest its inward sight be
obstructed, lest it be entangled in any temporal interest and overcome by
Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing stronger or higher or wider; nothing
is more pleasant, nothing fuller, and nothing better in heaven or on earth,
for love is born of God and cannot rest except in God, Who is above all created
One who is in love flies, runs, and rejoices; he is free, not bound. He gives
all for all and possesses all in all, because he rests in the one sovereign
Good, Who is above all things, and from Whom every good flows and proceeds.
He does not look to the gift but turns himself above all gifts to the Giver.
Love often knows no limits but overflows all bounds. Love feels no burden,
thinks nothing of troubles, attempts more than it is able, and does not plead
impossibility, because it believes that it may and can do all things. For
this reason, it is able to do all, performing and effecting much where he
who does not love fails and falls.
Love is watchful. Sleeping, it does not slumber. Wearied, it is not tired.
Pressed, it is not straitened. Alarmed, it is not confused, but like a living
flame, a burning torch, it forces its way upward and passes unharmed through
If a man loves, he will know the sound of this voice. For this warm affection
of soul is a loud voice crying in the ears of God, and it says: "My God, my
love, You are all mine and I am all Yours. Give me an increase of love, that
I may learn to taste with the inward lips of my heart how sweet it is to love,
how sweet to be dissolved in love and bathe in it. Let me be rapt in love.
Let me rise above self in great fervor and wonder. Let me sing the hymn of
love, and let me follow You, my Love, to the heights. Let my soul exhaust
itself in praising You, rejoicing out of love. Let me love You more than myself,
and let me not love myself except for Your sake. In You let me love all those
who truly love You, as the law of love, which shines forth from You, commands."
Love is swift, sincere, kind, pleasant, and delightful. Love is strong, patient
and faithful, prudent, long-suffering, and manly. Love is never self-seeking,
for in whatever a person seeks himself there he falls from love. Love is circumspect,
humble, and upright. It is neither soft nor light, nor intent upon vain things.
It is sober and chaste, firm and quiet, guarded in all the senses. Love is
subject and obedient to superiors. It is mean and contemptible in its own
eyes, devoted and thankful to God; always trusting and hoping in Him even
when He is distasteful to it, for there is no living in love without sorrow.
He who is not ready to suffer all things and to stand resigned to the will
of the Beloved is not worthy to be called a lover. A lover must embrace willingly
all that is difficult and bitter for the sake of the Beloved, and he should
not turn away from Him because of adversities.
From The Imitation of Christ by Thomas Kempis, Book 3, Chapter
5: "The Wonderful Effect of Divine Love."
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