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

COMMENTARY ON CHAPTER LVril.

Challoner’s Reflection on The Imitation of Christ1
BOOK THREE: INTERNAL CONSULTATION

CHAPTER LVril.: High Matters and the Hidden Judgments of God Are Not to Be Scrutinized


It is a great misfortune that men have so great a yearning to trouble themselves with thousands of vain questions, whilst they scarcely give a thought to the most important truths. They wish to know all things, with the exception of the one indispensable thing. Their pride is satisfied in speculations almost always dangerous, or at least useless towards their salvation. In endeavouring to penetrate impenetrable mysteries, their thoughts wander astray, and find only error at the very moment when they think that they are drawing from God his secrets. Such are the fruits of the labours with which they consume themselves under the sun.

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  1. Right Rev. R. Challoner, D.D., V.A., Imitation of Christ, Dublin: McGlashan and Gill, 1873

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

COMMENTARY ON CHAPTER LVI1.

Challoner’s Reflection on The Imitation of Christ1
BOOK THREE: INTERNAL CONSULTATION

CHAPTER LVI1.: A Man Should Not Be Too Downcast When He Falls Into Defects


It is not enough to be patient with others; it is necessary to be so also with yourself. That indescribable feeling of bitterness and of violence, which we feel in ourselves when we have committed some fault, comes rather from humbled pride than from repentance according to God. The humble man, who knows his weakness, is not astonished when he falls; he weeps on account of his fall, implores pardon for it, and lifts up again, calm, ready to struggle with renewed courage. To fall is undoubtedly an evil, but to trouble one’s self too much on account of it, is a still greater evil. The trouble has its source either in a kind of proud annoyance at finding one’s self so weak, or in a want of confidence in Him who healeth all our diseases (Psalms 102:3Open Link in New Window). Hatch ye, and pray that ye enter not into temptation (Matthew 26:41Open Link in New Window); and if, temptation coming, it happens that you yield, watch and pray still more; but never lose peace, for our God is the God of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33Open Link in New Window).

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  1. Right Rev. R. Challoner, D.D., V.A., Imitation of Christ, Dublin: McGlashan and Gill, 1873

The Fifty-Sixth Chapter: We Ought to Deny Ourselves and Imitate Christ Through Bearing the Cross

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

The Fifty-Sixth Chapter: We Ought to Deny Ourselves and Imitate Christ Through Bearing the Cross


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, the more you depart from yourself, the more you will be able to enter into Me. As the giving up of exterior things brings interior peace, so the forsaking of self unites you to God. I will have you learn perfect surrender to My will, without contradiction or complaint.

Follow Me. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Without the Way, there is no going. Without the Truth, there is no knowing. Without the Life, there is no living. I am the Way which you must follow, the Truth which you must believe, the Life for which you must hope. I am the inviolable Way, the infallible Truth, the unending Life. I am the Way that is straight, the supreme Truth, the Life that is true, the blessed, the uncreated Life. If you abide in My Way you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free, and you shall attain life everlasting. Continue reading

The Fifty-Fifth Chapter: The Corruption of Nature and the Efficacy of Divine Grace

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

The Fifty-Fifth Chapter: The Corruption of Nature and the Efficacy of Divine Grace


The Disciple

O LORD, my God, Who created me to Your own image and likeness, grant me this grace which You have shown to be so great and necessary for salvation, that I may overcome my very evil nature that is drawing me to sin and perdition. For I feel in my flesh the law of sin contradicting the law of my mind and leading me captive to serve sensuality in many things. I cannot resist the passions thereof unless Your most holy grace warmly infused into my heart assist me.

There is need of Your grace, and of great grace, in order to overcome a nature prone to evil from youth. For through the first man, Adam, nature is fallen and weakened by sin, and the punishment of that stain has fallen upon all mankind. Thus nature itself, which You created good and right, is considered a symbol of vice and the weakness of corrupted nature, because when left to itself it tends toward evil and to baser things. The little strength remaining in it is like a spark hidden in ashes. That strength is natural reason which, surrounded by thick darkness, still has the power of judging good and evil, of seeing the difference between true and false, though it is not able to fulfill all that it approves and does not enjoy the full light of truth or soundness of affection. Continue reading

COMMENTARY ON CHAPTER LV.

Challoner’s Reflection on The Imitation of Christ1
BOOK THREE: INTERNAL CONSULTATION

CHAPTER LV.: The Corruption of Nature and the Efficacy of Divine Grace


Religion does two things: it shows us our misery, and points out to us the remedy for it; it teaches us that, of ourselves, we can do nothing towards our salvation, but that we can do all things in Him who strengthened us (Philippians 4:13Open Link in New Window). Let us learn then to humble ourselves, to feel our weakness, to enjoy, so to speak, our nothingness. When we shall have thrown aside every vain opinion of ourselves, and dug, to some extent, a deep pit in our hearts, a flood of graces will precipitate itself into it. Peace will be given to us on this earth: for who can trouble the peace of him who, forgetting himself and despising himself, depends only on God, and trusts only in God?

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  1. Right Rev. R. Challoner, D.D., V.A., Imitation of Christ, Dublin: McGlashan and Gill, 1873

The Fifty-Fourth Chapter: The Different Motions of Nature and Grace

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

The Fifty-Fourth Chapter: The Different Motions of Nature and Grace


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, pay careful attention to the movements of nature and of grace, for they move in very contrary and subtle ways, and can scarcely be distinguished by anyone except a man who is spiritual and inwardly enlightened. All men, indeed, desire what is good, and strive for what is good in their words and deeds. For this reason the appearance of good deceives many.

Nature is crafty and attracts many, ensnaring and deceiving them while ever seeking itself. But grace walks in simplicity, turns away from all appearance of evil, offers no deceits, and does all purely for God in whom she rests as her last end. Continue reading

COMMENTARY ON CHAPTER LIV.

Challoner’s Reflection on The Imitation of Christ1
BOOK THREE: INTERNAL CONSULTATION

CHAPTER LIV.: The Different Motions of Nature and Grace


According to the doctrine of the great apostle, St. Paul, we have in us two laws which oppose each other: the law of the flesh which puts us under the bondage of sin, and the law of the spirit, which keeps us in subjection by the aid of the grace which Jesus Christ has merited for us. Divided between those two laws, we are, on this earth, floating, as it were, between good and evil, between God and the world; urged on towards the one by nature, attracted towards the other by grace, which never entirely abandons even the greatest sinners. What will become of our poor souls when subjected to this terrible struggle? How much must they tremble when looking forward to the results of this terrible warfare! St. Paul says: this is the reason that every creature groaneth and is in labour, even till now; and we also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption of the sons of God, he redemption of our body (Romans 8:22, 23Open Link in New Window). Happy day! And when will it dawn? When shall we taste the delicious peace of an unchangeable love?

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  1. Right Rev. R. Challoner, D.D., V.A., Imitation of Christ, Dublin: McGlashan and Gill, 1873

The Fifty-Third Chapter: God’s Grace Is Not Given to the Earthly Minded

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

The Fifty-Third Chapter: God’s Grace Is Not Given to the Earthly Minded


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, my grace is precious. It does not allow itself to be mixed with external things or with earthly consolations. Cast away all obstacles to grace, therefore, if you wish to receive its infusion.

Seek to retire within yourself. Love to dwell alone with yourself. Seek no man’s conversation, but rather pour forth devout prayer to God that you may keep your mind contrite and your heart pure. Continue reading