Imitation of Christ – Book 2, Ch.5-8, pt.1

This week we are reading Chapters 5-8 of Book 2 of The Imitation of Christ.  The focus of these meditations is developing an intimate friendship with Christ above all other relationships.  Á Kempis tells us that the first step in this journey is not to worry about the state of someone else’s soul but ours.  If we only attend to ourselves and our own shortcomings, we will lack the energy to correct others, and more importantly, once we understand our own failings, we will be unable to judge others too harshly.  In his book The Roots of Christian Mysticism, Olivier Clément writes that “it remains spiritually impossible to talk of hell for others. The theme of hell can only be broached in the language of I and Thou. The threats of the Gospels concern me, they form the serious tragic element in my spiritual destiny; they prompt me to humility and repentance because I recognize them as the diagnosis of my state. But for you, the numberless you of my neighbor, I can only serve, bear witness, and pray that you will experience the Risen Christ.”  pp.301-02. Jesus says that we are not to worry about tomorrow because today has sufficient trouble (Matt. 6:34); likewise, we should not worry about others, for each of us has sufficient trouble for ourselves alone.

Likewise, á Kempis tells us that we must love Christ above all things, for everything else must come second.  In Luke 14:26, Jesus says that we must “hate” our family in order to be worthy of him. Here, “hate” doesn’t mean not to love, but to “love less than.”  So that just as Jacob loved Leah less than Rachel, so we are to love everyone less than we love Christ. But the promise in loving Christ more is that then we have the ability to love others through that love we have for Christ.  And thereby love them with an eternal everlasting love, not a love which is subject to whims of this world.  For as Paul says, all things must be in the appropriate order. (1 Cor. 15:23)

As you read through these four meditations, please take your time to pray over them, meditate upon them, and seek to apply them in your life.  The purpose of the meditations is not to convey information but to help shine a light in those areas of our lives where we have come up short of the glory of God.  

Dinner is at 6. The menu is chili.  Discussion at 6:45.  Hope to see you here.

Of all the friends you will find, you should love Jesus Christ in a unique way, for he is the only one who will be good and faithful to the end. Through him and in him love friends and foes alike, and pray the each one may come to know and love him.

Book 2, Chapter 8

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