EUREKA: Discovering Catholic Treasury – through a Lenten lens! : “Imitation of Christ”

A. What is it?

>> The “Imitation of Christ” is a Christian Devotional Book by Thomas a Kempis (He was a German-Dutch Canon Regular Priest)

>> It was composed around 1418-1427, in Latin

>> The “Imitation of Christ” is perhaps one of the most widely read Christian book, after the Holy Bible.

B. What does it speak of?

>> The “Imitation of Christ” presents the idea that the study of Christ’s life and the emulation of His Example is the highest pursuit that human beings can achieve.

>> Christ is the ultimate example of Christian’s spiritual lifestyle.

>> Love is exalted as taking the highest place and faith is fundamental to the spiritual life. >> The “Imitation of Christ” seeks to repair and develop our spiritual life and meditate on God as the source of everything.

>> The “Imitation of Christ” comprises of 114 Chapters, divided into Four Books:

(i) “Helpful Counsels of the Spiritual Life”

>> The “Imitation of Christ” derives its title from the First Chapter of Book I, “The Imitation of Christ and contempt for the vanities of the world”

>> Book One deals emphasizes an interior life by renouncing all that is vain and illusory, resisting temptations and distractions of life, giving up the pride of learning and to be humble, and patiently enduring the world’s contempt and contradiction.

(ii) “Directives for the Interior Life”

>> It contains instructions concerning “inward peace, purity of heart, a good conscience and for moderating our longings and desires.

>> It calls the reader to grow in the virtues of Patience, Submission to the Will of GOD, Love of Jesus, Enduring the loss of comfort, and Taking up the Cross.

(iii) “On Interior Consolation”

>> This longest book (consisting of 59 chapters) is in the form of a dialogue between Jesus and the disciple – a call to come into closer union with Him

>> A beautiful call by Jesus is: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Without the Way, there is no going; without the Truth, there is no knowing; without Life, there is no living.

I am the Way you are to follow; I am the Truth you are to believe; I am the Life you are to hope for.”

(iv) “On the Blessed Sacrament”

>> The Fourth book emphasizes on the fact that Jesus says “there is no Offering more worthy, no satisfaction greater, for the washing away of sins and to offer oneself purely and completely to God at the time the Body of Christ is offered in the Mass and in Communion!”

>> In order to receive the Sacrament, the Lord invites to “make clean the mansions of your heart. Shut out the whole world and all its sinful din…

… and sit as a solitary sparrow on a housetop and, in the bitterness of your soul, meditate on your transgressions.”

C. Pointers for Reflections

1. The “Imitation of Christ” is a guide in changing our lives and learning to grow closer to Christ in Spirit and in Deeds.

>> We are constantly required to ask ourselves: “How am I really following Christ in my life?”

2. The “Imitation of Christ” strongly speaks on the necessity to have “humility of the heart”

>> In a world that glorifies sensationalization and pride, and in a culture of worldly ambition and crazy power-mongering, this Book is a mighty challenge!

3. The “Imitation of Christ” calls forth to have moments of silence, reflection and deep prayer

>> In a world where we “cherish and feel out-of-place without noise”, the Book comes as an eye-opener to make suitable changes in our lifestyle to nurture moments of silence – and thus to come in closer Imitation of Christ!

D. What virtues/points can we pick up from the “Imitation of Christ” for this Season of Lent?

1. Growing in the Humility

2. Becoming more and more Christ-like in our attitudes and conduct towards others

3. Cultivating the Spirit of Prayerful Silence, even in our “busy and noise” schedule

E. Tips to practice these virtues

1. Practise every day, an action of humility

2. Ask this practical question to ourselves: “WWJD – What Would Jesus Do?”

3. Consciously set apart, at least sometime in the day, for a time of silence – and seek to grow in union with the Lord and His Will

>> We usually like to always have “words” in prayers and feel “awkward and incomplete” when there are no words or “talking”

>> Let us seek to spend time with the Lord, “in silence” and in the stillness of our hearts and minds, grow in the Experience of God’s Love!

May this Lent and the familiarity with the Spiritual Classic – “Imitation of Christ” – help us to grow in our acclamation: “Eureka – I have found the Lord”

(The Full Text of “Imitation of Christ” can be found at:

http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/03d/1380-1471,_Kempis._Thomas,_The_Imitation_Of_Christ,_EN.pdf)

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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