This classic of Christian devotional literature has brought understanding and comfort to millions for centuries. Both Protestants and Catholics — as well as mystics and historians of religious thought — have studied these meditations on the life and teachings of Jesus, finding in them a path to prayer and spiritual guidance. Written in a candid and conversational style, The Imitation of Christ discusses liberation from worldly inclinations, recollection as a preparation for prayer, the consolations of prayer, and the place of eucharistic communion in a devout life. With its simple, readable text, this translation will appeal to new readers as well as to those already familiar with this religious classic.
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I tried reading this classic, but just couldn't bring myself to finish it. There were certainly a lot of great quotes in it. But, I found the content too dark, lacking joy, very gloomy, with a strong focus on mortification of the soul. This is clearly a Catholic book (duh), with a focus on external deeds and works. Kempis also emphasizes being a hermit, staying away from "worldly" people and not associating with the things of this world. Then, I must ask, how does one possibly communicate the Gospel to those who need Christ the most if we are to stay away from them and their environs? How is the Gospel lived out and modeled to those who are seeking and observing if we are to stay locked in our chambers all day? The Imitation of Christ is clearly a product of Middle Ages Europe, with an emphasis on self-sanctification, mortification of the soul, suffering, and Roman Catholic monasticism. Not that it's bad or wrong, but it just doesn't seem to jive with the Christ that I have come to know as a believer for 20+ years.more
I just finished reading the William C. Creasy translation of this Christian classic by the monk, Thomas 'a Kempis. I've read this book several times and enjoyed it each time. This version is easy to read. I'd recommend reading this book to anyone interested in being exposed to a timeless work of literature that has survived for centuries.more
Sherley-Price’s introduction sets the stage for a closed-minded and intolerant book, referring to combatting “godless Communism” and the “anti-Christ”, and including passages such as “For Thomas, as for all Christians, the sole road to God is through the power and teachings of Jesus Christ, true God and true Man; by the subordination of nature to divine grace; by self-discipline; and by devout use of the Sacraments of the Catholic Church, in particular that of the Holy Eucharist.” Thomas A Kempis himself isn’t much better:“Everyone naturally desires knowledge, but of what use is knowledge itself without the fear of God?”“We are born with an inclination towards evil.” “all those others who strove to follow in the footsteps of Christ … all hated their lives in this world, that they might keep them to life eternal.”“And were you to ponder in your mind on the pains of Hell and Purgatory, you would readily endure toil and sorrow, and would shrink from no kind of hardship.”The messages of humility and simplicity in other parts of the text quickly get lost for me. Man is a worm. God is great. Don’t you dare think of pleasure, or you’ll burn in Hell forever. Ugh.Read Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations instead. Somehow these two have been linked by many, and they shouldn’t be at all. Marcus the pagan was far, far more enlightened.more
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