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A Meditation On The Incarnation Of Christ, Sermons On The Life And
Passion Of Our Lord And Of Hearing And Speaking Good Words. -Thomas A Kempis

SHOW me Thy face: let Thy voice sound in my ears. For Thy voice is sweet and Thy face comely. These are the words of a loving soul, to Thee, most sweet Jesus Christ. But I beseech Thee, good Babe: that Thou also grant to me a sinner to say these words in the desire of my soul. For when shall I be satiated of thinking and speaking of Thee? For Thou art the salvation of my countenance, and my God. Show me therefore Thy face: and my soul shall be saved. Whensoever I am sad, look upon me and pity me: and my soul shall be comforted. For Thou art my hope from my youth: and unto length of days and old age forsake me not. O how lovable and sweet Thou hast become to men: for whom Thou hast deigned to be made a little child. For by such charity Thou drawest me to Thyself, and dost mightily press me to Thyself in Thy love. O most sweet and most loving child Jesus: deign to comfort me a while this day. My soul loves Thee: because Thou hast first loved me. For on account of Thine immense love, and the incomparable sweetness Thou hast shown towards me: Thou didst come down from that secret dwelling of Heaven into the prison of this world to visit and console me. And now Thou hast done well by coming: and Thou hast acted with much wisdom and sweetness appearing in such guise. Putting on human nature: Thou hast taken the form of a most beautiful babe: Who abiding in the Godhead pure and simple without any figure surpassest all understanding. But I in my grossness could not grasp such a substance excelling all shape: therefore in condescension to me Thou hast united my nature with Thyself, presenting the familiar form of a man; that thus by nearness of nature Thou mightest show greater affection: and by the visible aspect of man lead us by the hand to the invisible substance of the Godhead.

O most sweet incarnate Wisdom of God: how sweetly and wisely Thou drawest me by Thy dear infancy. Turn now Thy face to me, good Jesus, and cast me not away from among Thy children; but show me a gracious mien: that seeing Thee, my heart may be glad, and conceive thence new joy. O happy hour, when Thou lookest upon me with eyes of tenderness: and showest me the favour I desire. For this is a sign of Thy clemency: this affords me confidence and comfort. This also invites me to kiss Thy feet, hands, and blessed mouth. O feet of my Lord Jesus Christ, sacred and worthy of every embrace, small and tender, confined within the narrowness of the manger; who shall yet walk for me: and oft be wearied. Alas! you suffer no little cold: for haply you have not sufficient clothing to cover, and fire to warm. These are the tender and beloved feet of my Lord Saviour: yet to be pierced on the cross with sharp nails. And then you shall be fearfully bathed in blood: who now bear patiently the hard frost. These are the feet most prompt to carry the tidings of peace; ready to tread the rough road: destined to show the world the way of eternal salvation. These are the feet of mercy and justice; before which the Ethiopians shall fall, the demons flee: and kings and princes worship. Then shall draw nigh sinners doing penance; and devoutly kissing them: they shall obtain pardon and grace.

O beloved Babe, not only Thy feet: but Thy hands also and head and other members offer me to kiss, bless and praise. O most lovely and most pure hands, perfectly proportioned: in no point either too great or too small. These are Thy hands, O Lord, which have made me and formed me: and now have come to restore me. They shall aid me to toil faithfully: and strengthen me manfully against divers temptations. They shall support me in good that I fail not: and upraise me in evil lest I despair. THEY SHALL BLESS LITTLE ONES: and give health to many sick. They shall combat the devil: and reduce all his power to naught. After many years they shall be fastened to the cross; and then they shall send forth broad streams of blood. Stretched out on the cross they shall beseech forgiveness for me: and wounded, obtain me pardon of sins. They shall open the door of paradise: destroy the gates of hell: and lead thence its captives. They shall appear with their wounds to men at the judgement: and openly show how much God wrought and suffered for their salvation. Let this left hand be under my head: and that right embrace me. O if I merit so great a good: how happy and joyous shall I be. Hence now with greater confidence I will dare to draw nigh to the kiss of Thy mouth: and with the boldness of love to press my lips upon Thy holy lips. And if the height of the Godhead terrify: nevertheless the likeness of human nature most strongly urges: and the wondrous sweetness of Thy baby littleness.

O holy and stainless mouth of my Lord, full of wisdom and grace; Thou shalt teach me the ways of life, Thou shalt fill me with praise: Thou art to comfort me with good discourse. For if at times the speech of a learned man gives pleasure; how much more will the word of grace from Thy mouth delight? O honied mouth of my Lord, how lovely are Thy lips; how white Thy teeth: how sweetly it shall distil Thy speech. This mouth then of the Lord shall speak judgement and justice; strike the wicked with its lips: and destroy the impious from the earth. It shall open the hidden things of the scriptures: and unveil heavenly secrets. It shall make manifest the counsels of hearts: and make void the wisdom and design of men. The islands shall hold their peace before Thee: and kings and princes of the earth shall marvel. The noble and the lowly shall be converted: and the learned shall impose silence on their mouth. For WHEN GOD SPEAKS, THE EARTH AND THE WORLD SHALL BE SILENT: and all the power of the heavens shall obey the command of Thy mouth.

O precious and golden mouth of the Saint of saints; who shall be worthy even once to kiss Thee, or to touch the summit of Thy head? It is in sooth a pure and holy soul that saith, “Let Him kiss me with the kiss of His mouth.” SHE THAT LOVES, SEEKS THE KISS: but she that fears, is ashamed to draw near. NOTHING SO RECONCILES, NOTHING SO APPEASES GOD: AS THE PURE LOVE OF GOD AND CONTEMPT OF SELF. I beseech Thee, good Babe, Jesus most sweet, Babe small and great; perform this mercy with Thy servant, that with humble condescension Thou suffer me to touch, embrace, and kiss Thee with kisses of love: as long as Thou art small, and lying in a manger. For thus Thou art loved more sweetly: held more lovingly: borne more easily, and feared less. But when Thou art become a man, it is not lawful to act thus: but it will behove to pass to things more serious. All things have their season. Now it is the season of embracing; later it shall be the season of weeping: when in place of the kiss of the mouth will be given Thee the cup of bitter brewing. Now it is better to taste the joy of Thy birth: but great sorrow of compassion will rather be felt later: when Thou art stretched naked on the cross; Who now, wrapped in swaddling-clothes, art laid in a manger. Give me, most loving Babe, the kiss of Thy charity: and accept the worship of my humility. Behold my desire, and offer the sacred KISS OF THY MOUTH; and let this be to me a sign of peace: and AN INDISSOLUBLE BOND OF MUTUAL LOVE. I know and believe that Thy touch heals: Thy embrace unites: THY KISS IMPRESSES LOVE. Whom Thou touchest within, Thou curest of fleshly affection; whom Thou embracest, Thou unitest with Thyself: Thou sweetly kissest him: whom Thou makest to be fervent in Thy love. Now tell me what thinkest Thou: and make me experience the word that is spoken.

“Receive,” saith this Babe, “a kiss, and understand a mystery; for no man knoweth but he that receiveth; and no man receiveth, but he that has learnt to walk in the spirit. Then I kiss thee, when I infuse into thee the gift of My love. Then I EMBRACE THEE; WHEN I DRAW ALL THE AFFECTIONS OF THY HEART TO ME: so that there be NOTHING in creatures, that CAN allure or attract THEE. But then thou dost kiss Me: when thou art compunct with true, sincere love: and seekest comfort of no creature. Thou dost kiss My feet: if thou followest the steps of My humility, from love rather than from fear. Thou dost kiss My hands: if all good works done or to be done, the whole thou dost attribute not to thyself, but to Me. And then thou dost embrace Me: when thou feelest thyself united with Me by intimate affection of heart, and so strongly bindest thyself: that thou desirest TO BE WHOLLY MINE, and keepest back NOTHING of private love TO THYSELF. Then shalt thou be able to say with the spouse in the Canticle, ‘My beloved to me, and I to Him: Who feedeth among the lilies.’ If thou wouldst freely forsake thyself, and despise all earthly things; I would receive thee as My familiar friend: and make thee rich in virtues. For who is devoted and wholly given to Me: I to him in turn will manifest Myself utterly without reserve; because therefore was I, God, made man: that man might be in Me for ever blessed. I have given Myself all to man: that man might be wholly given to Me. For ‘My delights are to be with the children of men’: to whom I have come to give also the kingdom of Heaven: and by contempt of the world to bring to the everlasting fellowship of the angels.”








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