Imitation of Christ – Book 3, Ch.16-20, pt.2

This evening we will be reading through chapters 16-20 of Book 3 of The Imitation of Christ

One of the great themes that á Kempis leads us into is the idea of patient suffering.  Á Kempis draws on the four suffering servant hymns of Isaiah to demonstrate to us that Jesus patiently suffered, being repaid evil for good.  And, as we imitate our Lord, we too are called to a patient suffering in the face of injury and persecution.  If you have the opportunity today, please read through these four songs in Isaiah:  Isa. 42:1-4, Isa. 49:1-6, Isa. 50:4-9, and Isa. 52:13-53:12.

For me, these meditations of á Kempis in leading us to imitate the meekness of the suffering servant raises the question of how do we confront injustice in the world.  In his Inaugural Address at St. Andrews, John Stuart Mills remarks that “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends than that good men should look on and do nothing.”  Is this á Kempis’ advice? Would he advise Rosa Parks to meekly accept sitting in the back of the bus where she was told, or counsel the Greensboro Four to silently bear the injustice of a segregated lunch counter?  However, just as Jesus willingly went to the cross he also came to the aid of the women caught in adultery and violently overturned the money-changers tables.  And therefore, as our wills become aligned with Christ, how are we to interact with the evil in this world?

Another related theme is that we should seek God alone and not the material possessions of this world. Msgr Charles Pope of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has a beautiful lighthearted discussion on his blog about how we, in the modern world, are material giants but spiritual midgets.  The blog ends with a Heineken commercial showing our tendency and capacity to become very talented in worldly things to the neglect of eternal matters.  The post is HERE (Ingenious in the Passing, April 22, 2016) In light of this commercial, think about your talents and whether they serve this world or the next.

Dinner is at 6. The menu is meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”


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