Imitation of Christ, Book III, Chapter 8

Acknowledging Our Unworthiness in the Sight of God

I will speak to my Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. If I consider myself anything more than this, behold You stand against me, and my sins bear witness to the truth which I cannot contradict.

If I humble myself and acknowledge my own nothingness, and cast away all manner of esteem of myself and ( as I really am) account myself to be mere dust, Your grace will be favorable to me and Your light will enshroud my heart; and all self-esteem, no matter how little, will sink in the depths of my nothingness to perish forever.

It is there You show me to myself – what I am, what I have been, and what I am coming to; for I am nothing and I did not know it. Left to myself, I am nothing but total weakness. But if You look upon me for an instant, I am at once made strong and filled with new joy. Great wonder is it that I, who of my own weight always sink to the depths, am so suddenly lifted up, and so graciously embraced by You.

It is Your love that does this, graciously upholding me, supporting me in so many necessities, guarding me from so many grave dangers, and snatching me, as I may truly say, from evils without number. Indeed, by loving myself badly I lost myself; by seeking only You and by truly loving You I have found both myself and You, and by that love I have reduced myself more profoundly to nothing. For You, O sweetest Lord, deal with me above all my merits and above all that I dare to hope or ask.

May You be blessed, my God, for although I am unworthy of any benefits, yet Your nobility and infinite goodness never cease to do good even for those who are ungrateful and far from You. Convert us to you, that we may be thankful, humble, and devout, for You are our salvation, our courage, and our strength.

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