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The Imitation of Christ December 23, 2009

Posted by Tantumblogo in Uncategorized.
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I received a very astute comment the other day.   The commenter stated that avoiding New Age certain religious practices is all well and good, but where should he or she go to get some guidance on how to engage in deeply contemplative worship and prayer in a faithful, Catholic manner, and would I please help them? 

Yes, I will.  I already added this to the comments, but I think The Imitiation of Christ, by Thomas a’ Kempis, is exactly what this person is looking for.  If you feel like your parish doesn’t give you much in depth catechesis, or if you’re burned out on the Osteen’s of the world (which you should not be reading, anyway!), I strongly recommend The Imitation of Christ.   Here is a work of immense depth and challenge.  While originally written in the late Middle Ages for religious, especially monastics, it offers a view of life, or of giving up one’s life in service to Christ, which is beyond compare.   The book also provides great guidance on how to conduct contemplative prayer, and how to die to those material things that tend to distract so much.  More importantly, its guidance on how to live in a manner pleasing to Almighty God is amazing – but very difficult. 

This book does not pull any punches – it expects a great deal of the reader.  This is no wishy washy, touchy feely, I’m OK you’re OK theology.  The advice of a’ Kempis is that suffering is good and should be received with gratefulness.  It stresses repeatedly how unimportant are the things of the world.  And, in the conversations between Christ and man, it presents what I think are the most realistic, the most Roman Catholic, description of the relationship between God and man that I have ever read. 

PQHorn, if you are still out there, please check out The Imitation of Christ.  It is available online for free here.  If you are like me, and you prefer the bound, printed page, go here.  PS -I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the version listed on Amazon, I have a different version published by the Confraternity of the Precious Blood that is written in a very complex, rather old form of English.