The Seventh Chapter: The Examination of Conscience and the Resolution to Amend

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
BOOK FOUR: AN INVITATION TO HOLY COMMUNION

The Seventh Chapter: The Examination of Conscience and the Resolution to Amend


The Voice of Christ

ABOVE all, God’s priest should approach the celebration and reception of this Sacrament with the deepest humility of heart and suppliant reverence, with complete faith and the pious intention of giving honor to God.

Carefully examine your conscience, then. Cleanse and purify it to the best of your power by true contrition and humble confession, that you may have no burden, know of no remorse, and thus be free to come near. Let the memory of all your sins grieve you, and especially lament and bewail your daily transgressions. Then if time permits, confess to God in the secret depths of your heart all the miseries your passions have caused. Continue reading

The Sixth Chapter: An Inquiry on the Proper Thing to Do Before Communion

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
BOOK FOUR: AN INVITATION TO HOLY COMMUNION

The Sixth Chapter: An Inquiry on the Proper Thing to Do Before Communion


The Disciple

WHEN I consider Your dignity, O Lord, and my own meanness, I become very much frightened and confused. For if I do not receive, I fly from Life, and if I intrude unworthily, I incur Your displeasure. What, then, shall I do, my God, my Helper and Adviser in necessity? Teach me the right way. Place before me some short exercise suitable for Holy Communion, for it is good to know in what manner I ought to make my heart ready devoutly and fervently for You, to receive Your Sacrament for the good of my soul, or even to celebrate so great and divine a sacrifice.

The Fifth Chapter: The Dignity of the Sacrament and of the Priesthood

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
BOOK FOUR: AN INVITATION TO HOLY COMMUNION

The Fifth Chapter: The Dignity of the Sacrament and of the Priesthood


The Voice of Christ

HAD you the purity of an angel and the sanctity of St. John the Baptist, you would not be worthy to receive or administer this Sacrament. It is not because of any human meriting that a man consecrates and administers the Sacrament of Christ, and receives the Bread of Angels for his food. Great is the Mystery and great the dignity of priests to whom is given that which has not been granted the angels. For priests alone, rightly ordained in the Church, have power to celebrate Mass and consecrate the Body of Christ.

The priest, indeed, is the minister of God, using the word of God according to His command and appointment. God, moreover, is there–the chief Author and invisible Worker to Whom all is subject as He wills, to Whom all are obedient as He commands. Continue reading

The Fourth Chapter: Many Blessings Are Given Those Who Receive Communion Worthily

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
BOOK FOUR: AN INVITATION TO HOLY COMMUNION

The Fourth Chapter: Many Blessings Are Given Those Who Receive Communion Worthily


The Disciple

O LORD my God, favor Your servant with the blessings of Your sweetness that I may merit to approach Your magnificent Sacrament worthily and devoutly. Lift up my heart to You and take away from me this heavy indolence. Visit me with Your saving grace that I may in spirit taste Your sweetness which lies hidden in this Sacrament like water in the depths of a spring. Enlighten my eyes to behold this great Mystery, and give me strength to believe in it with firm faith.

For it is Your work, not the power of man, Your sacred institution, not his invention. No man is able of himself to comprehend and understand these things which surpass even the keen vision of angels. How, then, shall I, an unworthy sinner who am but dust and ashes, be able to fathom and understand so great a mystery? Continue reading

The Third Chapter: It Is Profitable to Receive Communion Often

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
BOOK FOUR: AN INVITATION TO HOLY COMMUNION

The Third Chapter: It Is Profitable to Receive Communion Often


The Disciple

BEHOLD, I come to You, Lord, that I may prosper by Your gift and be delighted at Your holy banquet which You, O God, in Your sweetness have prepared for Your poor. Behold, all that I can or ought to desire is in You. You are my salvation and my redemption, my hope and strength, my honor and glory.

Gladden, then, this day the soul of Your servant because I have raised my heart to You, O Lord Jesus. I long to receive You now, devoutly and reverently. I desire to bring You into my house that, with Zacheus, I may merit Your blessing and be numbered among the children of Abraham. Continue reading

The Second Chapter: God’s Great Goodness and Love is Shown to Man in This Sacrament

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
BOOK FOUR: AN INVITATION TO HOLY COMMUNION

The Second Chapter: God’s Great Goodness and Love is Shown to Man in This Sacrament


The Disciple

TRUSTING in Your goodness and great mercy, O Lord, I come as one sick to the Healer, as one hungry and thirsty to the Fountain of life, as one in need to the King of heaven, a servant to his Lord, a creature to his Creator, a soul in desolation to my gentle Comforter.

But whence is this to me, that You should come to me? Who am I that You should offer Yourself to me? How dares the sinner to appear in Your presence, and You, how do You condescend to come to the sinner? You know Your servant, and You know that he has nothing good in him that You should grant him this. Continue reading

The First Chapter: The Great Reverence With Which We Should Receive Christ

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
BOOK FOUR: AN INVITATION TO HOLY COMMUNION

The First Chapter: The Great Reverence With Which We Should Receive Christ


The Disciple

THESE are all Your words, O Christ, eternal Truth, though they were not all spoken at one time nor written together in one place. And because they are Yours and true, I must accept them all with faith and gratitude. They are Yours and You have spoken them; they are mine also because You have spoken them for my salvation. Gladly I accept them from Your lips that they may be the more deeply impressed in my heart.

Words of such tenderness, so full of sweetness and love, encourage me; but my sins frighten me and an unclean conscience thunders at me when approaching such great mysteries as these. The sweetness of Your words invites me, but the multitude of my vices oppresses me. Continue reading

The Fifty-Ninth Chapter: All Hope and Trust Are to Be Fixed In God Alone

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
BOOK THREE: INTERNAL CONSOLATION

The Fifty-Ninth Chapter: All Hope and Trust Are to Be Fixed In God Alone


The Disciple

WHAT, Lord, is the trust which I have in this life, or what is my greatest comfort among all the things that appear under heaven? Is it not You, O Lord, my God, Whose mercies are without number? Where have I ever fared well but for You? Or how could things go badly when You were present? I had rather be poor for Your sake than rich without You. I prefer rather to wander on the earth with You than to possess heaven without You. Where You are there is heaven, and where You are not are death and hell. You are my desire and therefore I must cry after You and sigh and pray. In none can I fully trust to help me in my necessities, but in You alone, my God. You are my hope. You are my confidence. You are my consoler, most faithful in every need.

All seek their own interests. You, however, place my salvation and my profit first, and turn all things to my good. Even though exposing me to various temptations and hardships, You Who are accustomed to prove Your loved ones in a thousand ways, order all this for my good. You ought not to be loved or praised less in this trial than if You had filled me with heavenly consolations. Continue reading

The Fifty-Eighth Chapter: High Matters and the Hidden Judgments of God Are Not to Be Scrutinized

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
BOOK THREE: INTERNAL CONSOLATION

The Fifty-Eighth Chapter: High Matters and the Hidden Judgments of God Are Not to Be Scrutinized


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, beware of discussing high matters and God’s hidden judgments–why this person is so forsaken and why that one is favored with so great a grace, or why one man is so afflicted and another so highly exalted. Such things are beyond all human understanding and no reason or disputation can fathom the judgments of God.

When the enemy puts such suggestions in your mind, therefore, or when some curious persons raise questions about them, answer with the prophet: “Thou art just, O Lord, and righteous are Thy judgments”; [42] and this: “The judgments of the Lord are true and wholly righteous.” [43] My judgments are to be feared, not discussed, because they are incomprehensible to the understanding of men. Continue reading

The Fifty-Seventh Chapter: A Man Should Not Be Too Downcast When He Falls Into Defects

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
BOOK THREE: INTERNAL CONSOLATION

The Fifty-Seventh Chapter: A Man Should Not Be Too Downcast When He Falls Into Defects


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, patience and humility in adversity are more pleasing to Me than much consolation and devotion when things are going well.

Why are you saddened by some little thing said against you? Even if it had been more you ought not to have been affected. But now let it pass. It is not the first, nor is it anything new, and if you live long it will not be the last. Continue reading