Imitation of Christ, Book IV, Chapter 13

That a Devout Soul Ought to Desire, With Her Whole Heart, to Be United to Christ in This Sacrament


WHO will give me, O Lord, that I may find You alone, that I may open my whole heart to You and enjoy You as my soul desires; and that now no man may despise me, nor anything created move me or regard me, but that You alone speak to me, and I to You; as the beloved is wont to speak to his beloved, and a friend to entertain himself with his friend.

This I pray for, this I desire, that I may be wholly united to You, and may withdraw my heart from all created things, and by the Holy Communion, and often celebrating, may more and more learn to relish heavenly and eternal things.

Ah! Lord God, when shall I be wholly united to You, and absorbed in You, and altogether forgetful of myself.

You in me, and I in You; and so grant us both to continue in one.

2. Verily You are my beloved, the choicest among thousands, in whom my soul is well pleased to dwell all the days of her life.

Verily You are my peacemaker, in Whom is sovereign peace and true rest; out of Whom is labor and sorrow and endless misery.

You are, in truth, a hidden God, and Your counsel is not with the wicked; but Your conversation is with the humble and the simple.

Oh, how sweet is Your spirit, O Lord, Who, to show Your sweetness towards Your children, vouchsafest to feed them with the most delicious bread which comes down from Heaven!

Surely, there is no other nation so great, that has gods so near them as You our God are present to all Your faithful; to whom, for their daily comfort, and for the raising up of their hearts to Heaven, You give Yourself to be eaten and enjoyed.

3. For what other nation is there so honored as the Christian people?

Or what creature under Heaven so beloved as a devout soul, into whom God comes, that He may feed her with His glorious Flesh?

O unspeakable grace! O wonderful condescension! O infinite love, singularly bestowed upon man!

But what return shall I make to the Lord for this grace, and for so extraordinary a charity?

There is nothing that I can give Him that will please Him better than if I give up my heart entirely to God, and unite it closely to Him.

Then all that is within me shall rejoice exceedingly when my soul shall be perfectly united to my God; then will He say to me: If you will be with Me, I will be with you: and I will answer Him: Vouchsafe, O Lord, to remain with me, and I will willingly be with You.

This is my whole desire, that my heart may be united to You.

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