IMITATION OF CHRIST.

USEFUL ADMONITIONS FOR A SPIRITUAL LIFE.

OF AVOIDING USELESS WORDS:

      FLY THE TUMULT OF MEN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN; FOR THE TREATING OF WORLDLY AFFAIRS, HINDERS VERY MUCH, ALTHOUGH THEY BE DISCOURSED OF WITH A SIMPLE INTENTION.

      FOR WE ARE QUICKLY DEFILED AND ENSNARED WITH VANITY.

      I OFTEN WISH THAT I HAD KEPT SILENCE, AND THAT I HAD NOT BEEN IN COMPANY.

      BUT WHY ARE WE SO WILLING TO TALK AND DISCOURSE WITH ONE ANOTHER, SINCE WE SELDOM RETURN TO SILENCE WITHOUT HAVING STAINED OUR CONSCIENCE?

      THE REASON WHY WE ARE SO WILLING TO TALK IS, THAT BY DISCOURSING TOGETHER WE SEEK COMFORT FROM ONE ANOTHER; AND WE WISH TO EASE OUR HEART, WEARIED BY VARIOUS THOUGHTS.

      AND WE VERY WILLINGLY TALK AND THINK OF SUCH THINGS AS WE MOST LOVE AND DESIRE, OR WHICH WE IMAGINE CONTRARY TO US.

2. BUT, ALAS! IT IS OFTEN IN VAIN AND TO NO PURPOSE: FOR HIS OUTWARD CONSOLATION IS NO SMALL HINDRANCE TO INTERIOR AND DIVINE CONSOLATION.

Avoid all unnecessary conversations no matter how brief or they will prove to be distractions to your focus of mind on "INTERIOR AND DIVINE CONSOLATION."

      THEREFORE WE MUST WATCH AND PRAY, THAT OUR TIME MAY NOT PASS AWAY WITHOUT FRUIT.

Many times a conversation we had weeks ago will stay with us for lack of closure and will continue to distract us because we have no power to bring it to closure; yet we may have had the opportunity to refrain from conversing unnecessarily. "NO MAN CAN SERVE TWO MASTERS."

      IF IT BE LAWFUL AND EXPEDIENT TO SPEAK, SPEAK THOSE THINGS WHICH MAY EDIFY. By attempting to serve the world and God, we drag distractions into holy communion with the Lord and his divine Spirit of glory.

      BAD HABIT AND THE NEGLECT OF OUR SPIRITUAL ADVANCEMENT CONTRIBUTE MUCH TO OUR KEEPING SO LITTLE GUARD UPON OUR TONGUE.

      BUT DEVOUT CONFERENCES, CONCERNING SPIRITUAL THINGS, HELP VERY MUCH TO SPIRITUAL PROGRESS; ESPECIALLY WHERE PERSONS OF THE SAME GOOD MIND AND GOOD SPIRIT ARE ASSOCIATED TOGETHER IN GOD.

The key to knowing you are going to a "DEVOUT CONFERENCE" is whether or not there is a fee to attend an organized conference of the worldly minded church with their fund raisers and merchandise. Those devouted to God and Christ should be free from the Spirit quenching entanglements of building visible works of religion when we are to build the invisible NEW MAN into a kingdom within us.


REFLECTION:

      IT IS RARE AND DIFFICULT TO SPEAK WITHOUT OFFENDING EITHER GOD OR OUR NEIGHBOR. FOR THIS REASON, ALL SPIRITUAL DIRECTORS RECOMMEND THE OBSERVANCE OF SILENCE. FOR IT IS SAD TO SAY, BUT TRUE, THAT THE TOPICS OF CONVERSATION ARE ANYTHING BUT EDIFYING. PEOPLE SPEAK FREELY AND INDECENTLY OF RELIGION AND OF GOD. NEIGHBORS ARE DERIDED, BELITTLED, CALUMINIATED. VANITY, GOOD TIMES, COMPETITION AND REVENGE ARE APPROVED OF. IN SUCH CONVERSATIONS IT IS ONLY NATURAL FOR ONE TO LOSE HIS SPIRIT OF PIETY, OF RELIGION OF FRATERNAL LOVE, OF HUMILITY AND OF MODESTY. HENCE, LET US AVOID, AS MUCH AS IS IN OUR POWER, THESE CONVERSATIONS. LET US TAKE PART IN THEM WHEN WE HAVE TO, BECAUSE OF NECESSITY, OR CONVENIENCE, OR CHARITY, BUT IN SO DOING DIRECT THE CONVERSATION TO EDIFYING OR INDIFFERENT TOPICS.



PRAYER:

      GIVE ME, O LORD, THE SPIRIT OF RETIREMENT AND OF RECOLLECTION, SO THAT I MAY BECOME A LOVER OF VIGILANCE AND PRAYER, AND THUS BE ABLE TO RESIST TEMPTATIONS AND AVOID SIN. O GOD, GRANT THAT I MAY NEVER SAY ANYTHING CONTRARY TO YOUR HOLY LAW. AMEN.

Saint Thomas in mentioning "THE SPIRIT OF RETIREMENT AND OF RECOLLECTION" is not suggesting Christians retire from our duty to God and Country. The Saint retires to privacy to seek the Lord as it has been revealed to him. Those who are "QUICKENED IN THEIR MORTAL BODY BY THE SPIRIT THAT DWELLS WITHIN" may be guided from their private place into the world to preach the gospel in the power of the Spirit as a living sacrifice if they are willing to move only when they are moved, and to focus with singleness of eye on a starting point for the guidance of the Spirit.

"RECOLLECTION" is a sacred King James Bible Word. RECOLLECTION is the discipline of getting back on track after a distraction or when someone changes the subject or theme of a conversation.

Without the discipline of RECOLLECTING YOURSELF, the Spirit of the anointing is easily lost for the day (after absolute obedience to the guidance of the Lord's eye was established again.)