Imitation of Christ – Book 2, Ch.9-12, pt.2

This evening we are gathering to conclude our study of The Imitation of Christ for this year. Please read Chapters 9-12 of Book Two.  Á Kempis ends this second book of “Suggestions Drawing One toward the Inner Life” with a focus on the Cross. The scriptures and tradition give us a multitude of ways to understand the meaning of the Cross.  These different understandings are often not in contradiction with one another but merely emphasize a different aspect of the divine mystery.  The prevailing understanding of the Cross at the time of á Kempis was Anselm of Canterbury’s Satisfaction Theory of Atonement whereby the Cross satisfies the honor of God which had been offended by our sin.  The Satisfaction Theory is the precursor to the more modern penal substitution theory of atonement which holds that on the Cross Christ took upon himself the punishment that God’s Justice demands for our sin.

But in this final meditation, á Kempis presents us with a different way of understanding and relating to the Cross.  In this view, the Cross gives us the example of how to live our lives for God.  Salvation does not lie in simply following the teachings of Christ, but in following his life itself.  Jesus is the Way, and we follow the Way when we walk in his footsteps by taking up our own cross daily. In looking at the Cross as the example to follow, the Cross is no longer something that happened a long time ago in a land far away but is something that happens to us in the here and now on a daily basis. The Cross is not only the promise of a transformed life in the hereafter but a transformed life today.  As you read through the meditations, think through what it means for you to take up your Cross now and how this can transform who you are.

Dinner is at 6. The menu is Chicken Parmigiana. Discussion about 6:45.  Please remember we are starting our study of 2 Corinthians next week. Please feel free to invite someone new to our gatherings.

If you bear your cross unwillingly you will make a greater burden for yourself – and you must still carry it, in any case. If you fling aside one cross, you will certainly find another and, perhaps, a heavier one.

Book 2, Chapter 12

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