Imitation of Christ – Book 1, Ch.21-25, pt.1

This week we are concluding Book 1 of The Imitation of Christ and are discussing chapters 21-25.  As we looked at in the introduction, The Imitation’s first three books respectively concern the purgative, illuminative, and unitive stages of spiritual growth which are analogous to the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of Christ. In these final chapters of Book 1, á Kempis focuses on the final stages of purgation: remorse, misery, death, and judgment. (It’s Good Friday all over again.)  For it is only when a man knows he is sick, does he seek out a physician. Therefore, á Kempis calls us to be like the publican who “standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner’” (Luke 18:9-14) so we can then begin the process of illumination and being remade in the image of God.  Before beginning to read through the meditations this week, please read Psalm 51 on what it truly means to be remorseful and read Matthew 25 on preparation.

As you read through these meditations, read one chapter at a time, ponder it, allow it to sink deep into your heart, and listen in silence to Christ speaking to you. Remember that á Kempis writes from within that particular culture of medieval Roman Catholicism that also gave us the great Renaissance paintings of the crucifixion and Dante’s Divine Comedy (which is reflected in chapter 24).  As always, you can disagree with á Kempis’ understanding of these matters, but be slow to dismiss his view, since although he may reflect his times and culture, so do we. 

Finally, because we are reading through five somewhat long meditations this week, we will not be reading the meditations themselves on Tuesday evening.  Dinner is at 6. The menu is a shrimp boil. Discussion at 6:45. Hope to see you here.

My dear friends do not lose confidence in progressing in your spiritual life; you still have time and opportunity.  Therefore, get up and begin at once and say: “Now is the time to act. Now is the time to fight. Now is the property time to change.”

Book 1, Chpater 22

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