Profound words from The Imitation of Christ by Thomas Kempis.
Of the fewness of those who love the Cross of Jesus
Jesus hath many lovers of His heavenly kingdom, but few bearers of
His Cross. He hath many seekers of comfort, but few of
tribulation. He findeth many companions of His table, but few of
His fasting. All desire to rejoice with Him, few are willing to
undergo anything for His sake. Many follow Jesus that they may
eat of His loaves, but few that they may drink of the cup of His
passion. Many are astonished at His Miracles, few follow after
the shame of His Cross. Many love Jesus so long as no
adversities happen to them. Many praise Him and bless Him, so
long as they receive any comforts from Him. But if Jesus hide
Himself and withdraw from them a little while, they fall either
into complaining or into too great dejection of mind.
But they who love Jesus for Jesus’ sake, and not for any
consolation of their own, bless Him in all tribulation and
anguish of heart as in the highest consolation. And if He should
never give them consolation, nevertheless they would always
praise Him and always give Him thanks.
Oh what power hath the pure love of Jesus, unmixed with any
gain or love of self! Should not all they be called mercenary
who are always seeking consolations? Do they not prove
themselves lovers of self more than of Christ who are always
seeking their own gain and advantage? Where shall be found one
who is willing to serve God altogether for nought?