Believer, I ask for your attention.
In my years of Christian experience, such sentiments for our Lord Jesus as you will read here are almost non-existent! I don't believe that I am exaggerating. Please, take time to read the following slowly. I'm right there with you. One convicting thought to me is this: "Would it seem at all strange if I wrote this?" Much could be said about this subject, but I would simply submit that the brand of Christianity to which most of us have been subjected neither encourages nor (unfortunately) ALLOWS for such expressions of love to Christ! Those who DO feel the following in their hearts may have a very difficult time accepting what I confess here--it seems to them so apparent. But those who DON'T identify with Kempis, may just pass it off as just so much emotionalism or a relic of the past. I hope not! But I fear that it is so. Brothers and sisters, these things ought not so to be!
PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING WITH PRAYER AND CARE. It is after all our Savior about whom we are talking. Perhaps after we have eaten at such a rich table for a season we will be able with absolute freedom to write similarly of our Lord. I pray so!
GOD IS SWEET ABOVE ALL THINGS AND IN ALL THINGS TO THOSE WHO LOVE HIM
BEHOLD, my God and my all! What more do I wish for; what greater happiness can I desire? O sweet and delicious word! But sweet only to him who loves it, and not to the world or the things that are in the world.
My God and my all! These words are enough for him who understands, and for him who loves it is a joy to repeat them often. For when You are present, all things are delightful; when You are absent, all things become loathsome. It is You Who give a heart tranquility, great peace and festive joy. It is You Who make us think well of all things, and praise You in all things. Without You nothing can give pleasure for very long, for if it is to be pleasing and tasteful, Your grace and the seasoning of Your wisdom must be in it. What is there that can displease him whose happiness is in You? And, on the contrary, what can satisfy him whose delight is not in You?
The wise men of the world, the men who lust for the flesh, are wanting in Your wisdom, because in the world is found the utmost vanity, and in the flesh is death. But they who follow You by disdaining worldly things and mortifying the flesh are known to be truly wise, for they are transported from vanity to truth, from flesh to spirit. By such as these God is relished, and whatever good is found in creatures they turn to praise of the Creator. But great—yes, very great, indeed—is the difference between delight in the Creator and in the creature, in eternity and in time, in Light uncreated and in the light that is reflected.
O Light eternal, surpassing all created brightness, flash forth the lightning from above and enlighten the inmost recesses of my heart. Cleanse, cheer, enlighten, and vivify my spirit with all its powers, that it may cleave to You in ecstasies of joy. Oh, when will that happy and wished-for hour come, that You may fill me with Your presence and become all in all to me? So long as this is not given me, my joy will not be complete.
The old man, alas, yet lives within me. He has not yet been entirely crucified; he is not yet entirely dead. He still lusts strongly against the spirit, and he will not leave the kingdom of my soul in peace. But You, Who can command the power of the sea and calm the tumult of its waves, arise and help me. Scatter the nations that delight in war; crush them in Your sight. Show forth I beg, Your wonderful works and let Your right hand be glorified, because for me there is no other hope or refuge except in You, O Lord, my God.
Thomas à Kempis. (1996). The Imitation of Christ (169–170). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.