Imitation of Christ – Book 3, Ch.1-5, pt.1

This Tuesday we are starting Book 3 of Thomas á Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ.  In this book, á Kempis takes us into a deeper unity with Christ.

The first step in this unification of the soul with Jesus is the cultivation of the ability to listen and to know his voice. Throughout the scriptures, we see that God speaks to us in our silence.  When Samuel was a young boy and the word of the Lord came to him, Eli instructed him that the appropriate response to God’s call is to lie back down, and simply respond: “Speak Lord for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:9.  We read that when Elijah escaped to Mt. Horeb/Sinai, that God would speak to him there. Elijah experienced a whirlwind, an earthquake, and a fire but God was not there, rather we read in 1 Kings 19:12 that God spoke to Elijah from “a still, small voice” (KJV), a “sound of sheer silence” (NRSV) and a “gentle whisper (NIV). Without being silent, we simply cannot hear the voice of Christ. In his treatise On the Duties of the Clergy, St. Ambrose of Milan (337-397) admonishes the clergy under his charge that they must learn to be silent.  For as St. Ambrose reminds them and us, Moses commands the people “Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD is one, and you shall serve the LORD you God with all your heart, and will all your soul, and with all your might” Deut. 6:4.  He did not say “Speak!” but “Listen!”  Like Ambrose’s clergy, the first step to a deeper unity with Jesus is to be still and to be quiet. Therefore, as we enter the Paschal Triduum today, be silent and listen for the voice of the Lord. 

This Tuesday, dinner is at 6. Discussion about 6:45. Please bring a friend or neighbor.

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