“This is the greatest wisdom – to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of this world. It is vanity, therefore, to seek and trust in riches that perish. It is vanity also to court honor and to be puffed up with pride. it is vanity to follow the lusts of the body and to desire things for which severe punishment later must come. It is vanity to wish for long life and to care little about a well-spent life. It is vanity to be concerned with the present only and not to make provision for things to come. It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not look ahead where eternal joy abides.” -Thomas a Kempis Imitation of Christ The Bruce Publishing Company 1940
Is true wisdom discovered through the dismissal of earthly pleasures? There is no question in my mind that it is right and good to pursue God above everything. However, our humanity and our souls should not feel like they are engaged in a never-ending war. True wisdom is discovered as we seek balance between our flesh and our souls. This kind of balance requires an intervention of divine grace. All attempts to achieve balance without divine assistance ends in shame, guilt, and disillusionment.
Thankfully we do not have to request this intervention as it has already been freely given through Christ. A holy grace that chases us as we yearn for it. Can we ignore it? Of course. We can pursue all things in this life, but only God’s grace can set us free. This is the life well-spent that Thomas a Kempis wanted people to discover. A life enveloped by God’s love. A life balanced in true wisdom, which is sealed by God’s grace for us in Jesus.
May our hearts be provoked by God’s invading grace.