Imitation of Christ – Book 1, Ch.10-12, pt.1

This week we are continuing our reading through The Imitation of Christ and will be looking at chapters 9-12.  These selections begin with a discussion on obedience for those under a vow. Think of whether this section has any relevance to us as secular laity.  As we have discussed over the last two weeks, humility doesn’t mean being a doormat. In a similar vein, meditate on the nature of obedience.  Robert Nisbet, a conservative sociologist, theorized that obedience can arise either through authority or power. Authority is based upon relationships and ultimately consent to be obedient, whereas power requires obedience under threat or use of force. In the first instance, obedience is internal and in the latter it is external. There is a difference, therefore, between obedience grounded in love and obedience predicated upon power.  As you read through this meditation, think about whether obedience is a necessary good within a spiritual or ecclesiastical context.  Should we all be obedient to someone?

As you read through the remaining meditations, keep in mind that à Kempis is not giving us additional rules to follow so that we become better people, but is laying out a means so that we can become spiritually mature to imitate Christ and be re-formed in the image of God.  In Chapter 9 of Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis echoes à Kempis’s call for spiritual perfection. “The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were ‘gods’ and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him—for we can prevent Him, if we choose—He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful, but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said.” pp.205-06.

Dinner is at 6. The menu is fried rice. Discussion about 6:45. If you have any particular insights into one of the meditations, please let me know. Hope to see you here.

Devout conversation on spiritual matters, on the contrary, is a great aid to spiritual progress, especially when person of the same mind and spirit associate together in God.

Book 1, Chapter 10

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