Imitation of Christ – Book 4, Ch.16-18, pt.2

This evening we are gathering for our final readings of Thomas á Kempis’ meditations found in The Imitation of Christ.  Á Kempis ends his work with the same admonition with which he began his work.  His advice is that it is better to know God than simply to know of God and that having a right relationship with Christ is more important than having a right doctrine about Christ.  In Book 1.1, á Kempis writes:

What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing to God. I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it. For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God? Vanity of vanities and all is vanity, except to love God and serve Him alone.

And so he ends his work with a similar statement in Book 4.18:

Beware of curious and vain examination of this most profound Sacrament. . . . Faith is required of you, and a sincere life, not a lofty intellect nor a delving into the mysteries of God. If you neither know nor understand things beneath you, how can you comprehend what is above you? Submit yourself to God and humble reason to faith, and the light of understanding will be given you so far as it is good and necessary for you.  

As you make your preparations for this evening, simply contemplate the Divine Mystery without definition. Allow your soul to become one with God.  Know the love of Christ which surpasses all knowledge (Eph. 3:19) and the peace of God which passes all understanding (Phil 4:7).

Dinner is at 6:00 tonight. The menu is meatballs and panzanella salad. Service begins at 6:45. Please make every effort to be here as we will celebrate Holy Communion together. Prepare your hearts and minds for your bridegroom awaits. 

We take Holy Communion not because we are doing well, but because we are doing badly. Not because we have arrived, but because we are travelling. Not because we are right, but because we are confused and wrong. Not because we are divine, but because we are human. Not because we are full, but because we are hungry.

Archbishop Rowan Williams in “Being Christian: Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, Prayer

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