Thankful For God's Many Blessings
Open my heart to your law, Lord, and teach me to walk in your commandments. Give me the grace to know your will and to remember reverently and diligently all your blessings, the general as well as the particular ones, so that I may always thank you adequately. I realize and I confess that I am incapable of properly thanking you. I am not worthy of the blessings you have granted me. While I consider your majesty, my spirit faints before your greatness.
All that we have in soul and body, all that we possess exteriorly and interiorly of the natural or supernatural order, are your gifts, which celebrate your generosity, mercy, and goodness. We have received all good things from you. Although some have received more, others less, all these gifts are yours. Without you not even the least of it would be possible. One who has received more cannot claim the glory, nor could such a one raise himself above others, nor insult those blessed with less as if anyone were greater or better than another. One will be worthy of greater things who attributes less to self, is more humble and devout in giving thanks, and esteems self to be totally unworthy of more gifts.
The one who receives fewer gifts should not be troubled by this, nor take it badly, nor envy one more richly blessed, but rather turn to you, praising your goodness for so generously, freely, and willingly bestowing your gifts without distinguishing among persons. Because all comes from you, you must be praised in all things. You know what should be given to each one. Why this person has less and the other more is not our business, but yours, for you know the merits of each one.
Therefore, Lord God, I consider it a great benefit to have few of those things that appear so valuable and are so highly praised; those things that cause some to see themselves impoverished and insignificant, and for lack of them to become disheartened and depressed. Rather I am consoled and very happy because you have chosen the poor, the humble and those of whom the world thinks little, as your friends and family.
Your apostles themselves, whom you made “princes in all the earth” (Ps 45:16), are witnesses of this. Nevertheless they lived in this world without complaint, so humble and so simple, without any malice or guile; “they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name” (Acts 5:41). They embraced with great love what the world abhors.
Nothing should give as much joy to those who love you and have experienced your blessings as having your will accomplished in them and sensing your pleasure in that. This makes it possible to be contented and consoled simply to be the least, while others strive to be the greatest, and to enjoy as much peace and contentment in the last place as could be felt in the first, and to willingly be despised and neglected, deprived of worldly recognition and reputation, as if they were the greatest and most respected persons in the world. All this because of the regard due to your will and your glory, which should console and please us more than any other possible benefits we have, or ever could receive.
—From Book 3, Chapter 22 (nos. 1–5)
Thomas à Kempis. (2010). Solace in Suffering: Wisdom from Thomas à Kempis. (M. L. Hill, Ed.) (pp. 51–53). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.