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The Imitation of Christ - (Paper Back)
by Thomas à Kempis
After the Bible, The Imitation of Christ is the favorite book of Catholics throughout the world. And of the English editions, none can equal this inspiring translation of Bishop Richard Challoner.
This book speaks to the soul of every true Christian, reminding him of the fleeting nature of earthly joy as opposed to the eternity of happiness with God.
The guide of saints since it first appeared in 1418 was the sole spiritual reading of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who loved it and knew it by heart.
Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange asserted that the pure mysticism of which it speaks is accessible to all if they are willing to follow the way of humility, the cross, continual prayer, and obedience to the Holy Ghost. About the Author: Thomas à Kempis was born at Kempen, Germany, circa 1380. After joining the monastery of Mount St. Agnes in 1406, he received Holy Orders seven years later, and after that busied himself with prolific writing and copying work. His books include the well-known Imitation of Christ, Life of Geert Groote, and Life of Liduina of Schiedam, the latter of which is epitomized. He also possessed a sincere love for the poor and Holy Scripture. Thomas à Kempis died on the twenty-fifth of July, 1471.
Item No: TC0227 (Grouped)
Publisher: Saint Benedict Press, LLC
Imprint: TAN Books
Publication Year: 2010
Dimensions: 5.5" X 8.5" X 1.13"
Excerpts From This Book:
"No one who follows Me will ever walk in darkness (Jn 8:12). These words of our Lord counsel all to walk in His footsteps. If you want to see clearly and avoid blindness of heart, it is His virtues you must imitate. Make it your aim to meditate on the life of Jesus Christ. Christ's teachings surpass that of all the Saints. But to find this spiritual nourishment, you must seek to have the Spirit of Christ. It is because we lack this Spirit that so often we listen to the Gospel without really hearing it. Those who fully understand Christ's words must labor to make their lives conform to His."
— Thomas á Kempis, p.15
"We will never be free of trials and temptations as long as our earthly life lasts. Job has said: 'Is not the life of human beings on earth a drudgery?' (Job 7:1). Therefore, we should always be on our guard against temptations, always praying that our enemy, the devil, 'who never sleeps but constantly looks for someone to devour.' (1 Pet 5:8), will not catch us off guard. No one in this world is so perfect or holy as not to have temptations sometimes. We can never be entirely free from them. Sometimes these temptations can be very severe and troublesome, but if we resist them, they will be beneficial to us, for by experiencing them, we are humbled, cleansed, and instructed. All the Saints endured tribulations and temptations and profited by them, while those who did not resist and overcome them fell away and were lost. There is no place so holy or remote where you will not meet with temptation, nor is there anyone completely free from it in this life, for in our body, we bear the wounds of sin—the weakness of our human nature in which we are born."
— Thomas á Kempis, p. 31
"Many try to fly away from temptations only to fall more deeply into them, for you cannot win a battle by mere flight. It is only by patience and humility that you have strengthened against the enemy. Those who shun them outwardly and do not pull them out by the roots will make no progress, for temptations will soon return to harass them, and they will be in a worse state. It is only gradually—with patience and endurance and with God's grace—that you will overcome temptations sooner than by your efforts and anxieties. Gold is tried by fire and the upright person by temptation. Often we do not know what we can do until temptation shows us what we are. This is how temptation is: first, we have a thought, followed by strong imaginings, then the pleasure and evil emotions, and finally consent. This is how the enemy gains full admittance because he was not resisted at the outset. The slower we are to resist, the weaker we daily become, and the stronger the enemy is against us."
— Thomas à Kempis, p. 32-33
"A man must go through a long and great conflict in himself before he can learn fully to overcome himself and to draw his whole affection towards God. When a man stands upon himself, he is easily drawn aside by human comforts. But a true lover of Christ, and a diligent pursuer of virtue, does not hunt after comforts, nor seek such sensible sweetnesses, but is rather willing to bear strong trials and hard labor for Christ."
— Thomas a' Kempis, p. 64
"Therefore, when God gives spiritual comfort, receive it with thanksgiving, but know that it is the bounty of God, not thy merit. Be not puffed up, be not overjoyed, nor vainly presume, but rather be the more humble for this gift and the more cautious and fearful in all thine actions; for this hour will pass away and temptation will follow. When comfort shall be taken away from thee, do not presently despair; but wait with humility and patience for the heavenly visit, for God is able to restore thee a greater consolation. This is no new thing, nor strange to those who have experienced the ways of God: for the great saints and ancient prophets have often felt this kind of variety."
— Thomas à Kempis, p. 64
"I never found anyone so religious and devout as not to sometimes have a subtraction of grace, or feel a diminution of fervor. No saint was ever so highly rapt and illuminated as not to be tempted sooner or later. For he is not worthy of the high contemplation of God who has not, for God's sake, be exercised with some tribulation."
— Thomas à Kempis, p. 65
"You must first have peace in your own soul before you can make peace between other people. Peaceable people accomplish more good than learned people do. Those who are passionate can turn good into evil and readily believe the worst. But those who are honest and peaceful turn all things to good and are suspicious of no one. ... It is no test of virtue to be on good terms with easy-going people, for they are always well-liked. And, of course, all of us want to live in peace and prefer those who agree with us. But the real test of virtue and deserving of praise is to live at peace with the perverse, or the aggressive and those contradict us, need great grace. In this mortal life, our peace consists in the humble bearing of suffering and contradictions, not in being free of them, for we cannot live in this world without adversity. Those who can best suffer will enjoy the most peace, for such persons are masters of themselves, lords of the world, with Christ for their friend, and heaven as their reward."
— Thomas á Kempis, p.72-73
"In this mortal life, our peace consists in the humble bearing of suffering and contradictions, not in being free of them, for we cannot live in this world without adversity. Those who can best suffer will enjoy the most peace, for such persons are masters of themselves, lords of the world, with Christ for their friend, and heaven as their reward."
— Thomas á Kempis, p.73
"The glory of a good person is evidence of a good conscience. Have a good conscience, and you will always be happy. A good conscience can bear a great deal and still remain serene in the midst of adversity, while a bad conscience is fearful and easily ruffled. Only be glad when you have done well. Evil persons are never really happy, nor do they feel peace within them, for 'there is no peace for the wicked, says the Lord' (Isa. 48:22). Even though the wicked may protest that peace is theirs and that no evil shall harm them, do not believe them. For God's wrath will suddenly overtake them, and all they have done will be brought to nothing and their plans destroyed."
— Thomas á Kempis, p.76
"Nothing is sweeter than love; nothing stronger, nothing higher, nothing more generous, nothing more pleasant, nothing fuller or better in Heaven or on earth; for love proceeds from God and can't rest but in God above all things created."
— Thomas a' Kempis, p. 87
"Love is an excellent thing, a great good indeed, which alone maketh light all that is burdensome and equally bears all that is unequal. For it carries a burden without being burdened and makes all that which is bittersweet and savory. The love of Jesus is noble and generous; it spurs us on to do great things and excites us to desire always that which is almost perfect."
— Thomas à Kempis, p. 87
"Jesus has many lovers of His heavenly kingdom, but few cross-bearers. Many desire His consolation, but few His tribulation. Many will sit down with Him at the table, but few will share His fast. All desire to rejoice with Him, but few will suffer for Him. Many will follow Him to the breaking of the bread, but few will drink the bitter cup of His Passion. Many revere His miracles, but few follow the shame of His cross. Many love Jesus when all goes well with them, and praise Him when He does them a favor; but if Jesus conceals Himself and leaves them for a little while, they fall to complaining or become depressed. They who love Jesus purely for Himself and not for their own sake bless Him in all trouble and anguish as well as in the time of consolation. Even if He never sent them consolation, they would still praise Him and give thanks. Oh, how powerful is the pure love of Jesus, when not mixed with self-interest or self-love!"
— Thomas à Kempis, p. 88-89
"Free me from evil passions and heal my heart of all disorderly affections that are healed and well purified in my interior, I may become fit to love, courageous to suffer, and constant to persevere. Love is an excellent thing, a great good indeed, which alone maketh light all that is burdened and makes all that which is bittersweet and savory. The love of Jesus is noble and generous; it spurs us on to do great things and excites us to desire always that which is almost perfect."
— Thomas á Kempis, p. 89
"Love is a strong force — a great good in every way; it alone can make our burdens light, and alone it bears in equal balance what is pleasing and displeasing. It carries a burden and does not feel it; it makes all that is bitter taste sweet. ... Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing higher, nothing stronger, nothing larger, nothing more joyful, nothing fuller, nothing better in heaven or on earth; for love is born of God and can find its rest only in God above all He has created. Such lovers fly high, run swiftly, and rejoice. Their souls are free; they give all for all and have all in all. For the rest in One supreme Goodness above all things, from Whom all other good flows and proceeds. They look not only at the gifts but at the Giver, Who is above all gifts."
— Thomas à Kempis, p. 108
"Wait a little while, my soul, await the promise of God, and you will have the fullness of all that is good in heaven. If you yearn inordinately for the good things of this life, you will lose those who are heavenly and eternal. Use temporal things correctly, but always desire what is eternal. Worldly things can never fully satisfy one's self, for you have not created to enjoy them alone, or your blessedness and happiness lie only in God, who has made all things from nothing."
— Thomas a' Kempis, p. 133-34
"Who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of a mortal man? Today he is, and tomorrow he appears no more. Fear God, and thou shalt do not need to be afraid of man. What can anyone do against thee by his words or injuries? He rather hurts himself than thee, nor can he escape the judgment of God whoever he is. See thou have God before thine eyes and do not contend with complaining words. And if at present thou seem to be overcome, and to suffer a confusion which thou hast not deserved, do not repine at this and do not lessen thy crown by impatience."
— Thomas á Kempis, p.148