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Category Archives: Imitation Tuesdays

TIOC 1:6

Of Inordinate Affections

When a man desired anything inordinately, he is at once unquiet in himself. The proud and covetous man never has rest, but the humble man and the poor in spirit live in great abundance of rest and peace. A man not mortified to himself is easily tempted and overcome by little and small temptations. And he who is weak in spirit and is yet somewhat carnal and inclined to worldly desires; when he does withdraw himself from them, he often has great grief and heaviness of heart and rebels if ay man resists him. And if he obtains what he desires, he is disquieted by remorse of conscience, for he has followed his passion which has not helped at all in winning the peace he desired. By resisting passion, and not by following it, the truest peace of heart is won. There is, therefore, no peace in the heart of a carnal man or in the heart of a man who gives himself all to outward things. But in the heart of spiritual men and women who have their delight in God great peace and inward quiet are found.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2011 in Imitation Tuesdays

 

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TIOC 1:5

On the Reading of Holy Scripture

Charity and not eloquence is to be sought in Holy Scripture, ans it should be read in the same spirit with which it was first made. We ought also to seek in Holy Scripture spiritual profit rather than elegance of style, and to read simple and devout books as gladly as books of high learning and wisdom. Do not let the authority of the author irk you, whether he be of great learning or little, but let the love of every pure truth stir you to read. Ask not: Who said this; but heed well what is said. Men pass lightly away, but the truth of God endures forever.

Almighty God speaks to us in His Scriptures in various manners, without regard for persons, but our curiosity often hinders us in reading Scripture when we reason and argue things we should humbly and simply pass over. If you will profit by reading Scripture, read humbly, simply, and faithfully, and never desire to gain by your reading the name of learned. Ask gladly and heed humbly the sayings of saints, and do not disdain the parables of the ancient Fathers, for they were not spoken without great cause.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2011 in Imitation Tuesdays

 

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TIOC 1:4

That Easy Credence is not to be Given to Words

 

It is not good, truly, to believe ever word or impression that comes; they ought to be pondered and considered advisedly and leisurely, so that Almighty God might not be offended through our fickleness. But alas, for sorrow, we are so frail that we quickly believe evil of others sooner than good. Nevertheless, perfect men are not so ready to give credence, for they well know that the frailty of man is more prone to evil than to good, and that he is very unstable in words. It is great wisdom, therefore, not to be hasty in our feeds, not to trust much in our own wits, not readily to believe every tale, no to show straightway to others all that we hear or believe.

Always take counsel of a wise man, and desire to be instructed and governed by others rather than to follow you own ingenuity. A good life makes a man wise toward God and instructs him in many things a sinful man will never feel or know. The more humble a man is in himself and the more obedient he is to God, the more wise and peaceful will he be in everything he will have to do.

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2011 in Imitation Tuesdays

 

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TIOC 1:3

Of the Teaching of Truth

Happy and blessed is he whom truth teaches and informs, not by symbols and deceitful voices, but as the truth is. Our opinion, our intelligence, and our understanding often deceive us, for we do not see the truth. Of what use is the knowledge of such things as will neither help us on the day of judgment if we know them, nor hurt us if we do not know them? It is, therefore, great folly to be negligent of such things as are profitable and necessary to us, and to labor for such things as are worthless and to be condemned. Truly, if we so act, we have eyes but see not. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2011 in Imitation Tuesdays

 

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TIOC 1:2

Against vain, secular learning, and of a humble knowledge of ourselves

Every man by nature desires to know, but of what avail is knowledge without the fear of God? A humble farm laborer who serves God is more acceptable to Him than an inquisitive philosopher who, considering the constellations of heaven, willfully forgets himself. He who knows himself well is mean and abject in his own sight, and takes no delight in the vain praise of men. If I knew all things in this world, but knew without charity, what would it avail me before God, who judges every man according to his deeds? Let us, therefore, cease from the desire of such vain knowledge, for often great distraction and the deceit of the enemy are found in it, and so the soul is much hindered and blocked from the perfect and true love of God.

Those who have great learning desire generally to seem to be accounted wise in the world. But there are many things whose knowledge brings but little profit and little fruit to the soul; he is most unwise who gives heed to any other thing except what will profit him to the health of his soul. Words do not feed the soul, but a good life refreshes the mind, and a clean conscience brings a man to a firm and stable trust in God. The more knowledge you have, the more grievously will you be judged for its misuse, if you do not live according to it. Therefore, do not lift yourself up into pride, because of any skill or knowledge that is given you, but have the more fear and dread in your heart – for it is certain that, hereafter, you must yield a stricter accounting. If you think that you know many things and have great learning, then know for certain that there are many more things you do not know. So with true wisdom you may not think yourself learned, but ought rather to confess your ignorance and folly. Why will you prefer yourself in knowledge before another, since there are many others more excellent and more wise than you and better learned in the Law? If you would learn anything and know it profitably to the health of your soul, learn to be unknown and be glad to be considered despicable and as nothing.

The highest and most profitable learning is this: that a man have a truthful knowledge and a full despising of himself. More, not to presume of himself, but always to judge and think well and blessedly of another, is a sign and token of great wisdom and of great perfection and of singular grace. If you see any person sin or commit any great crime openly before you, do not judge yourself to be better than he, for you know not how long you shall persevere in goodness. We are all frail, but you shall judge no man more frail than yourself.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2011 in Imitation Tuesdays

 

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TIOC 1:1

This is the fist post, in a line of many, that is a joureny through Thomas a’ Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ. The format of the title of these post will be as follows: TIOC 1:1. This will represent “The Imitation of Christ Book 1: Chapter 1” There are a total of four books, so each time I begin a new book I will give it’s title along with the post of the first chapter. It will be in brackets at the top left of the page before I give the chapter title.

Okay? Let’s go!

 

[Admonitions Useful for a Spiritual Life]

 

Of the Imitation or Following of Christ and the Despising of All Vanities of the World

 

He who follows Me, says Christ our Savior, walks not in darkness, for he will have the light of life. These are the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by them we are admonished to follow His teachings and His manner of living, if we would truly be enlightened and delivered from all blindness of heart.

Let all the study of our heart be from now on to have our meditation fixed wholly on the life of Christ, for His holy teachings are of more virtue and strength than the words of all the angels and saints. And he who through grace has the inner eye of his soul opened to the true beholding of the Gospels of Christ will find in them hidden manna.

It is often seen that those who hear the Gospels find little sweetness in them; the reason is that they do not have the spirit of Christ. So, if we desire to have a true understanding of His Gospels, we must study to conform our life as nearly as we can to His.

What avail is it to a man to reason about the high, secret mysteries of the Trinity if he lack humility and so displeases the Holy Trinity? Truly, it avails nothing. Deeply inquisitive reasoning does not make a man holy or righteous, but a good life makes him beloved by God. I would rather feel compunction of heart for my sins than merely know the definition of compunction. If you know all the books of the Bible merely by rote and all the sayings of the philosophers by heart, what will it profit you without grace and charity? All that is in the world is vanity except to love God and to serve Him only. This is the most noble and the most excellent wisdom that can be in any creature: by despising the world to draw daily nearer and nearer to the kingdom of heaven.

It is therefore a great vanity to labor inordinately for worldly riches that will shortly perish or to covet honor or any other inordinate pleasures or fleshly delights in this life, for which a man after this life will be sorely and grievously punished. How great a vanity it also is to desire a long life and to care little for a good life; to heed things of the present and not to provide for things that are to come; to love things that will shortly pass away and not to haste to where joy is everlasting. Have this common proverb often in your mind: The eye is not satisfied or pleased with seeing any material thing, nor the ear with hearing. Study, therefore, to withdraw the love of your soul from all things that are visible, and to turn it to things that are invisible. Those who follow their own sensuality hurt their own cause and lose the grace of God.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2011 in Imitation Tuesdays

 

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Imitation Tuesdays

   Beginning the new year, I intend to institute “Imitation Tuesdays”. Every Tuesday I will post a section from “The Imitation of Christ”. This nearly 600 year old work is attributed to Thomas a’ Kempis (ca. 1380 – 25 July 1471), a Catholic monk affiliated with “The Brothers of the Common Life”. I say “attributed” as the oldest manuscript of The Imitation doesn’t bear the name of any author. Through the years about 25 different “authors”have been attached to the The Imitation, but Thomas wins out due to the literary style, Dutch idioms, and the preponderance of the modern devotion that was so apparent to The Brotherhood of the Common Life that the work contains.

The version I will be using is a translation from Latin to English by Richord Whitford in 1530 that has been edited by Harold C Gardiner, S.J. – copyright 1955.

This monk, venerated by the Church of England and yet to be declared a Saint by the Roman Catholic Chruch, displayed a passion for The LORD that we should all desire to be consumed with. May these “Imitation Tuesdays” be a challenge to us and may God use it to draw us closer to Himself.

 

 

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