The Grace of Devotion

“You must seek the grace of devotion with earnestness, ask for it with real desire, wait for it with patience and trust, receive it with thankfulness, keep it with humility, use it with diligence, and commit to God the time and manner of His heavenly gift. Above all, humble yourself when you feel little or no inner devotion, and be not too depressed or discouraged, for God often grants in one short moment what He has withheld for a long while. And sometimes He grants in due time what He delayed to grant at your first request.

Were grace always granted at once and to be had for the asking, the weakness of man could hardly support it. The grace of devotion must therefore be awaited with firm hope and humble patience. When it is not granted, or when it is withdrawn, regard this as due to yourself and your own sinfulness. Sometimes it is a small matter that hinders or conceals grace – if, indeed, it may be termed a small thing and not grave that delays so great a good. But once you have removed this obstacle, whether small or great, and have perfectly overcome it, you shall have your desire.

As soon as you shall yield yourself to God with all your heart, and seek nothing for your own will and pleasure, but place yourself without reserve at His disposal, you shall find yourself united to Him, and at peace. Nothing will afford you more joy and satisfaction than the perfect fulfilling of God’s will. Whoever, therefore, raises his intent to God with a pure heart, and disengages himself from all inordinate love or hatred of any creature, shall best be prepared to receive grace, and be worthy of the gift of devotion. For Our Lord bestows His blessing where He finds vessels empty to receive them. And the more completely a man renounces worldly things, and the more perfectly he dies to self by the conquest of self, the sooner will grace be given, the more richly will it be infused, and the nearer to God will it raise the heart set free from the world.

Such a person will overflow and wonder, and his heart will be enlarged within him, for the hand of the Lord is upon him, and he has placed himself wholly in His hand forever. Thus shall the man be blessed who seeks God with his whole heart; he has not received his soul in vain. When he receives the sacred Eucharist, he merits the great grace of divine union, for he does not look to his own devotion and comfort, but beyond all such devotion and comfort he seeks the honour and glory of God.”

Thomas à Kempis