Monday, December 18, 2006


"My Imitation of Christ"
by Thomas a Kempis
Revised translation edited by Confraternity of the Precious Blood, Imprimatur Thomas Edmundus Molloy, Archbishop of Brooklyn, 1954

Book One - useful admonishes for a Spiritual Life

Chapter 18: The Example of the Holy Fatherspart 1.

1. Look upon the vivid examples of the holy fathers, in whom true perfection and religion were most shining, and thou wilt see how little, and almost nothing, that is which we do. Alas! what is our life, if compared to theirs? The saints and friends of Christ served the Lord in hunger and thirst; in cold and nakedness; in labour and weariness; in watchings and fastings; in prayers and holy meditations; in persecutions and many reproaches - Heb. xi. 37

2. Ah! how many and how grievous tribulations have the apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, and all the rest undergone, who have been willing to follow Christ's footsteps! For they hated their lives in this world, that they might possess them for eternity - John xii. 25. Oh, how strict and mortified a life did the holy fathers lead in the desert! What long and grievous temptations did they endure! How often were they molested by the enemy! What frequent and fervent prayers did they offer to God! What regorous abstinence did they offer to God! What rigorous abstinence did they go for thei spiritual progress! How strong a war did they wage for overcoming vice! How pure and upright was their intention to God! They laboured all the day and in the night they gave themselves to prayer: though even whilst they were at work they ceased not from mental prayer.

3. They spent all their time profitably: every hour seemed short which they spent with God; and through the great sweetness of divine contemplation they forgot even the necessity of their bodily refreshment. They renounced all riches, dignities, honours, friends, and kindred; they desired to have nothing of this world; they scarcely allowed themselves the necessaries of life; serving the body, even in necessity, was irksome to them. They were poor, therefore, as to earthly things, but very rich in grace and virtue. Outwardly they were in want, but inwardly they were refreshed with divine graces and consolations.