The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis

“The Imitation of Christ” is a Catholic devotional book written by a 15th century monk, for the other monks in his monastery. Deep in instruction and demanding in pursuit of virtue, this book demands reflection on each and every sentence, making it a very dense and lengthy read. Most self-help books rarely cover as much material as this does, it is impressive that so many areas of moral development have been discussed.

The ascetic and self-mortification instructions although intended for a monastic audience, is in my opinion, grossly incongruent with Christ’s teachings. To revel in the contemptible nature that the world ascribes to an individual is focusing more on the world’s reactions to your behaviour rather than focusing on God’s plans and carrying them out despite the world’s reactions.

My heart was exposed to my own cruelty and desperation. My mind was exposed to my own weakness and stupidity. Just another read of that last paragraph I quoted is enough to humble me to my knees. What resides within me is a bud, the conception of God’s Kingdom, which lacks nourishment and maturity. This book washes over me, and most of it goes into the drain, yet I still stay a bit wet. With time, this book is going to become the framework for deep and lasting change.

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