The Imitation of Christ, Part Deux

Posted on 2007-10-06. Filed under: Quotes |

Here I gave my favorite quotes from the first ten chapters of The Imitation of Christ by Thomas á Kempis. I’m going to continue that trend with some favorite quotes from the second ten chapters (for those of you that are mathematically disinclined, that would be chapters 11-20).

  • If only we would exert ourselves and take a firm stand in this battle, we would see how God comes to our aid, for He is always ready to help those who put their trust in Him. He even provides occasions for us to do battle so that we will overcome and be victorious.
    If our religion consists only in outward observances, our piety will soon come to an end. We had better lay our axe to the root, that being purged from our passions, we may possess our soul in peace.
  • It is good that everything is not always to our liking; for adversity makes people look into their hearts in order to realize that they are exiles and must not put their hopes in any worldly thing.
    It is good for us to run into opposition and to have others think badly of us, even when our intentions are good. For these things help us to be humble and rid us of pride. Then we seek God more earnestly, Who alone knows our inmost self, when outwardly we are ignored and discredited by others.
    Therefore, people should rely so entirely on God that they have no need to look for human consolations when adversity comes. When people of good disposition are afflicted or tempted or distracted by evil thoughts, then they understand the need they have of God and that without Him they can do nothing.
    Then too they grieve, while they sigh and pray because of the miseries they endure. They grow weary of this life and long for death in order to be with Christ, their Lord. It will also be clear to them that there is neither perfect peace nor security in this world.
  • The beginning of all evil temptations is inconstancy of mind and insufficient trust in God. Just as a ship without a rudder is tossed about with every storm, so those who are negligent and abandon their good resolutions are tempted in diverse ways. 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.
  • We should not be discouraged when tempted, but turn in fervent prayer to God, Who, in His infinite goodness and compassion, will help us in all our needs. St. Paul has said that “together with the trial He will also provide a way out and the strength to bear it” (1 Cor 10:13).
  • Watch over yourself and take care not to judge the actions of other people. We gain nothing by criticizing others, but often are mistaken and thereby offend God. But to judge yourself and your own actions is always profitable.
  • There will always be defects in ourselves or others which we cannot correct. These we must simply tolerate until God in His goodness sees fit to change things. After all, this may be the best possible way to prove our patience, without which our good qualities are not worth much.
  • Learn how to be patient in enduring the faults of others, remembering that you yourself have many which others have to put up with. If you cannot make yourself be what you would like, how can you expect another to be as you would like? We wish to see perfection in others, but do not correct our own faults.
  • Every day renew your dedication to God, arousing fervent devotion in your heart as if it were the first day of your turning back to God. Pray to Him, saying: “Help me, Lord Jesus, to persevere in my good resolutions and in Your holy service till death. Help me to begin this day well, for up to now I have done nothing.”
  • The resolution of devout persons depends more on the grace of God than on their own wisdom. For human beings propose, but God disposes, nor is the course of their life as they would have it (Jer 10:23).
  • Seek a convenient time to search your own conscience, meditating on the benefits of God. Restrain curiosity; read only those things that will move you to contrition rather than give you distraction.
  • Unless we have sincere repentance, we are not worthy to receive spiritual consolation. if you are truly penitent, seek the quiet of your room and shut out the noise of the world, for it is written: “Be careful not to sin; reflect in silence as you lie upon your beds” (Ps 4:5). There you will find the grace that you may easily lose outside.
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