IMITATION OF CHRIST.

USEFUL ADMONITIONS FOR A SPIRITUAL LIFE.

OF THE STUDY OF TRUTH:

      HAPPY IS HE WHOM TRUTH TEACHES BY ITSELF, NOT BY FIGURES AND WORDS THAT PASS, BUT AS IT IS IN ITSELF.

      OUR OPINION AND OUR SENSE OFTEN DECEIVE US, AND SEE BUT LITTLE.

      WHAT AVAILS A GREAT DISPUTE ABOUT HIDDEN AND OBSCURE MATTERS, IF, FOR NOT KNOWING THEM, WE SHALL NOT BE REPROVED AT THE DAY OF JUDGMENT?

      IT IS A GREAT FOLLY FOR US TO NEGLECT THINGS PROFITABLE AND NECESSARY, AND TO WILLINGLY BUSY OURSELVES ABOUT THOSE WHICH ARE CURIOUS AND HARMFUL. WE HAVE EYES AND SEE NOT.

2. AND WHY NEED WE CONCERN OURSELVES ABOUT THE VARIOUS KINDS AND SPECIES OF BEINGS?

EVOLUTION HAS PENETRATED THE INSTITUTIONS AND PUBLICATIONS OF THE WORLD, AND HAS BECOME AN ANTICHRIST RELIGION REQUIRING MORE FAITH TO BELIEVE IN THAN THE SINNER WOULD NEED TO BELIEVE IN CHRIST.

      HE TO WHOM THE ETERNAL WORD SPEAKS, IS SET AT LIBERTY FROM A MULTITUDE OF OPINIONS.

      FROM THIS ONE WORD ARE ALL THINGS, AND ALL THINGS SPEAK TO US OF HIM; AND THIS IS THE BEGINNING WHICH ALSO SPEAKS TO US.

      WITHOUT HIM, NO ONE UNDERSTANDS OR JUDGES RIGHTLY.

      HE TO WHOM ALL THINGS ARE ONE, AND WHO DRAWS ALL THINGS TO ONE, AND WHO SEES ALL THINGS IN ONE, MAY BE STEADY IN HEART, AND PEACEABLY REPOSE IN GOD.

      O TRUTH! MY GOD, MAKE ME ONE WITH YOU IN ETERNAL LOVE.

      OFTEN I AM WEARIED WITH READING AND HEARING MANY THINGS; IN YOU IS ALL THAT I WILL OR DESIRE.

      LET ALL TEACHERS HOLD THEIR PEACE; LET ALL CREATURES BE SILENT IN YOUR SIGHT; DO YOU ALONE SPEAK TO ME.

     

3. THE MORE A MAN IS UNITED WITHIN HIMSELF, AND INTERIORLY SIMPLE, THE MORE AND HIGHER THINGS DOES HE UNDERSTAND WITHOUT EFFORT; BECAUSE HE RECEIVES THE LIGHT OF UNDERSTANDING FROM ABOVE.

      A PURE, SIMPLE, AND STEADY SPIRIT IS NOT DISSIPATED BY A MULTITUDE OF AFFAIRS, BECAUSE HE PERFORMS THEM ALL TO THE HONOR OF GOD, AND ENDEAVORS WITHIN HIMSELF TO BE FREE FROM ALL SELF-SEEKING.

NONETHELESS, THE SPIRITUAL MAN AVOIDS THOSE THINGS THAT QUENCH THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST IN THE LIVES OF BELIEVERS, ONE OF WHICH IS OUR BECOMING ENTANGLED BY "A MULTITUDE OF AFFAIRS." IF THE LOVE OF THIS WORLD IS IN US TO WHERE WE BECOME ENTANGLED IN TOO MANY THINGS, THE WORD OF GOD IN US IS CHOKED AND WE DO NOT BEAR SPIRITUAL FRUIT.

      WHAT IS A GREATER HINDRANCE AND TROUBLE TO YOU THAN YOUR OWN UNMORTIFIED AFFECTION OF HEART?

      A GOOD AND DEVOUT MAN FIRST DISPOSES INTERIORLY THE WORKS WHICH HE IS TO DO OUTWARDLY.

HE "PONDERS THE PATH OF HIS FEET, THAT ALL HIS WAYS MIGHT BE ESTABLISHED." AND HE AVOIDS BECOMING A REACTIONARY AS HE ENCOUNTERS THE EVIL CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE DAY.

      NEITHER DO THEY DRAW HIM TO THE DESIRES OF AN INORDINATE INCLINATION, BUT HE BENDS THEM TO THE RULE OF RIGHT REASON.

      WHO HAS A STRONGER CONFLICT THAN HE WHO STRIVES TO OVERCOME HIMSELF?

      AND THIS MUST BE OUR BUSINESS, TO STRIVE TO OVERCOME OURSELVES, AND DAILY TO GAIN MASTERY OVER OURSELVES, AND TO GO FROM GOOD TO BETTER.

4. ALL PERFECTIONS IN THIS LIFE ARE ATTENDED WITH SOME IMPERFECTIONS; AND ALL OUR SPECULATIONS WITH A CERTAIN OBSCURITY.

      THE HUMBLE KNOWLEDGE OF YOURSELF IS A SURER WAY TO GOD THAN THE DEEPEST SEARCH AFTER SCIENCE.

      LEARNING IS NOT TO BE CONDEMNED, NOR THE MERE KNOWLEDGE OF ANYTHING, WHICH IS GOOD IN ITSELF, AND ORDAINED BY GOD; BUT A GOOD CONSCIENCE, AND A VIRTUOUS LIFE, ARE ALWAYS TO BE PREFERRED BEFORE IT.

      BUT BECAUSE MANY MAKE IT MORE THEIR STUDY TO KNOW THAN TO LIVE WELL, THEREFORE ARE THEY OFTEN DECEIVED, AND BRING FORTH NONE, OR VERY LITTLE FRUIT.

5. OH, IF MEN WOULD USE AS MUCH DILIGENCE IN ROOTING OUT VICES AND PLANTING VIRTUES, AS THEY DO IN PROPOSING QUESTIONS, THERE WOULD NOT BE SO MANY EVILS OR SCANDALS AMONG THE PEOPLE, NOR SO MUCH LAXITY IN MONASTERIES.

      VERILY, WHEN THE DAY OF JUDGMENT COMES, WE SHALL NOT BE EXAMINED ON WHAT WE HAVE READ, BUT ON WHAT WE HAVE DONE; NOT ON HOW LEARNEDLY WE HAVE SPOKEN, BUT ON HOW RELIGIOUSLY WE HAVE LIVED.

WHEN SAINT THOMAS USES THE WORD "RELIGIOUSLY" HE MEANS HOW DILIGENTLY THE DEVOUT SPIRITUAL MAN HAS LIVED ACCORDING TO THE LAWS OF THE SPIRIT. HE DOES NOT MEAN WITH WHAT REGULARITY A BELIEVER ATTENDS CHURCH SERVICES OR MASS, AND GOES THROUGH THE MOTIONS OF RELIGIOUS RITUALS. IF YOU SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES, YOU WILL FIND JESUS, AS WELL AS THE PROPHETS AND APOSTLES LABORING OUTSIDE OF ORGANIZED RELIGION TO SERVE GOD. TOO MANY GO TO A CHURCH SERVICE OR ATTEND MASS AND RETURN TO THEIR HOMES AND BUSINESSES TO LIVE WORLDLY LIVES. THEY ARE NOT ATTENDING TO SPIRITUAL MATTERS RELIGIOUSLY.

      TELL ME, WHERE ARE NOW ALL THOSE GREAT DOCTORS AND MASTERS WITH WHOM YOU WERE WELL ACQUAINTED, WHILE THEY WERE LIVING AND FLOURISHED IN LEARNING?

      NOW OTHERS FILL THEIR PLACES, AND I KNOW NOT WHETHER THEY EVER THINK OF THEM.

      IN THEIR LIFETIME THEY SEEMED TO BE SOMETHING, AND NOW THEY ARE NOT SPOKEN OF.

6. OH, HOW QUICKLY DOES THE GLORY OF THE WORLD PASS AWAY! WOULD THAT THEIR LIVES HAD BEEN ANSWEREABLE TO THEIR LEARNING! THEN WOULD THEY HAVE STUDIED AND READ ADVANTAGEOUSLY.

      HOW MANY PERISH IN THE WORLD THROUGH VAIN LEARNING, BECAUSE THEY LITTLE CARE FOR THE SERVICE OF GOD!

      AND BECAUSE THEY PREFER RATHER TO BE GREAT THAN TO BE HUMBLE, THEREFORE, THEY ARE LOST IN THEIR OWN IMAGINATIONS.

      HE IS TRULY GREAT, WHO HAS GREAT CHARITY.

      HE IS TRULY GREAT, WHO IS LITTLE IN HIS OWN EYES, AND ESTEEMS ALL HONORS AS NAUGHT.

      HE IS TRULY PRUDENT WHO CONSIDERS ALL EARTHLY THINGS AS NOTHING, THAT HE MAY GAIN CHRIST.

      AND HE IS VERY LEARNED INDEED, WHO DOES THE WILL OF GOD, AND RENOUNCES HIS OWN WILL.



REFLECTION:

      WE SHOULD STUDY, NOT SO MUCH TO KNOW AS TO PUT INTO PRACTICE THE TRUTHS WHICH WE LEARN. LET US LISTEN TO THE ETERNAL WORD, WHO SPEAKS TO THE HEART MORE THAN TO THE MIND. TO KNOW AND TO DO WHAT IS NECESSARY FOR OUR SALVATION CONSTITUTES A TRUE CHRISTIAN CONSCIENCE.



PRAYER:

      MY DEAR JESUS, YOU HAVE SAID: "NOT HE WHO SAYS, 'LORD, LORD', SHALL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN; BUT HE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY HEAVENLY FATHER". THEREFORE GIVE ME A TRULY CHRISTIAN MIND AND HEART, SO THAT I MAY LEAD A TRULY CHRISTIAN LIFE. GRANT ME THE GRACE TO BE DETACHED FROM ALL THINGS AND TO SEEK ONLY YOU IN ALL I DO, SAY OR THINK. MAY I THUS RENDER MYSELF WORTHY OF YOUR LOVE NOW AND FOR ALL ETERNITY. AMEN.