The Imitation of Christ, spiritual treatise of the 15th century
Book II, ch. 11
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself"
Jesus has many now to love his kingdom, few to carry his cross. He has many devotees of consolation, few of affliction. He finds many to eat with him (Sir 6,10), few to fast with him. Everyone would rejoice with him: few will at all suffer for him. Many follow Jesus to the breaking of bread (Lk 24,35); few to the draught of his chalice of suffering (Mt 20,22). Many revere his miracles; few go after the shame of his cross. Many love Jesus as long as they meet no adversity. Many praise and bless him, as long as they get from him some comfort. But let Jesus go into hiding and leave them awhile, they soon fall deep into peevishness and gloom.
But those who love Jesus for Jesus and not for their own comfort, they bless him no less in utmost affliction and distress than in the heights of consolation. And if he would never give them comfort, they would still be always praising him and giving thanks. How potent is the pure love of Jesus, untainted with any selfish consideration or desire!