Imitation of Christ – Book 1, Ch.1-4, pt.1

This Tuesday we begin our readings from the Imitation of Christ.  This week, we will look at the first five chapters or meditations.  Before you begin reading, please read the attached “Introduction” and “How to Read”.  If you remember our reading of On the Incarnation, Athanasius summarizes his argument that “He was made Man, so that we may be made God.” (ch. 54). At its core, this principle is that salvation isn’t about a change in location, but a change in being.  It is about restoring the image of God into a fallen humanity. (ch. 6). Kempis has the same goal.  The first step in restoring this image is purgation. Since flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven (1 Cor. 15:50), these first meditations address leaving behind earthly cares.  The soot and the grim and the tarnish, and even failed past restoration attempts, must be removed before the image is restored and the first book is concerned with the removal of these worldly stains.

Kempis’ writing and themes draw heavily from Scripture and the Patristics, as would be expected.  If you have time, before reading through Chapter 1, read Ecclesiastes 1 in which the Preacher speaks of the vanity and the futility and the weariness of worldly concerns. Kempis draws heavily on this chapter in his opening meditation because it is easier to let loose of those things that have no value and Ecclesiastes reminds us of the worthlessness of the things of this world.  Before reading through Chapters 2, 4, and 5, read through Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. (Matt. 5-7). Within the Sermon, Jesus speaks not of right actions, but of right attitudes, and á Kepis weaves these teachings within these meditations. Finally, before embarking on Chapter 3, read through Chapter 2 of Ambrose’s Duties of the Clergy, where he instructs his clergy that the first thing that they must learn is to be silent before God and men.

These meditations are very short.   For each meditation: Stop. Pray. Read. Listen. Reflect. Respond. Repeat.

Dinner is at 6. The menu is spaghetti and meatballs. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here, and please bring a friend.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *