"What would Jesus do?" That’s the primary question Thomas à Kempis answers in his universally acclaimed work, The Imitation of Christ. In 114 short chapters organized into four simple parts, this handbook on the spiritual life offers guidance on dozens of topics such as resisting temptation, avoiding hasty judgments, putting up with others’ faults, remembering God’s many blessings, self-surrender, minding our own business, and performing humble works. William Creasy succeeds in creating a dramatically different interpretation of The Imitation of Christ by working through its historical, cultural, and linguistic contexts. This book inspired the likes of St. Thomas More, St. Ignatius of Loyola, Thérèse of Lisieux, Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton. Along with such classics as Augustine’s Confessions, Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle, and Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises, The Imitation of Christ continues to confront each generation of readers with the perennial truths of the Gospel.
|Publisher:||Ave Maria Press|
|Edition description:||with new foreword|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.45(d)|
About the Author
Thomas à Kempis (1380–1471) was a medieval Dutch monk steeped in the mystical tradition of his time. A member of the Brothers of the Common Life, he was ordained a priest in 1413. His well-loved work, The Imitation of Christ, was written between 1420 and 1427 presumably as four booklets intended to instruct the novices of his community. It is one of Christian history’s best-known works on spiritual devotion. This small book sidesteps academic pretension to consider larger truths. “A poor peasant who serves God,” Thomas wrote, “is better than a proud philosopher who . . . ponders the courses of the stars.”Father Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R., is a teacher, writer, and poet. Ordained a Redemptorist priest in 1980, he taught the history of moral theology and Christian spirituality at the Alphonsian Academy of Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University for more than twenty years, reaching the rank of Ordinary Professor. In 2008 he was installed as the John Cardinal Krol Chair of Moral Theology as a scholar-in-residence at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. He also serves as the Karl Rahner Professor of Catholic Theology at the Graduate Theological Foundation in Mishawaka, Indiana. Raised in Staten Island, New York, and educated there through high school in local Catholic schools, he graduated from Dartmouth College and went on to receive four master's degrees, as well as doctorates from Harvard University, the Pontifical University of St. Thomas, and the Graduate Theological Foundation. Billy is the author of numerous books and articles, both popular and scholarly. After serving six years in the United States Marine Corps, William Creasy received his bachelor of arts degree from Arizona State University in 1974, summa cum laude; his master of arts degree from Arizona State University in 1976; and his doctorate in English literature from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1982. He retired from the UCLA English faculty in 2005 after serving more than twenty years. Creasy has been chosen as an honorary Mortar Board member at UCLA; he has been appointed as a member of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Spirituality Commission; and he has served as Scholar in Residence at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, the first Christian academic to hold that appointment. The San Diego Ecumenical Council has also honored him for his teaching and his work in ecumenism. Creasy has spoken at countless professional gatherings, and has served as keynote speaker at such functions as the Episcopal Bishops’ Conference.
Read an Excerpt
THE IMITATION OF CHRIST AND CONTEMPT FOR THE VANITIES OF THE WORLD
"Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness," says the Lord. These are Christ's own words by which He exhorts us to imitate His life and His ways, if we truly desire to be enlightened and free of all blindness of heart. Let it then be our main concern to meditate on the life of Jesus Christ.
2. Christ's teaching surpasses that of all the saints, and whoever has His spirit will find in His teaching hidden manna. But it happens that many are little affected, even after a frequent hearing of His Gospel. This is because they do not have the spirit of Christ. If you want to understand Christ's words and relish them fully, you must strive to conform your entire life to His.
3. What good does it do you to be able to give a learned discourse on the Trinity, while you are without humility and, thus, are displeasing to the Trinity? Esoteric words neither make us holy nor righteous; only a virtuous life makes us beloved of God. I would rather experience repentance in my soul than know how to define it.
If you knew the entire Bible inside out and all the maxims of the philosophers, what good would it do you if you were, at the same time, without God's love and grace? Vanity of vanities! All is vanity, except our loving God and serving only Him. This is the highest wisdom: to despise the world and seek the kingdom of heaven.
4. It is vanity to seek riches that are sure to perish and to put your hope in them.
It is vanity to pursue honors and to set yourself up on a pedestal.
It is vanity to follow the desires of the flesh and to crave the things whichwill eventually bring you heavy punishment.
It is vanity to wish for a long life and to care little about leading a good life.
It is vanity to give thought only to this present life and not to think of the one that is to come.
It is vanity to love what is transitory and not to hasten to where everlasting joy abides.
5. Keep this proverb often in mind: The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. Therefore, withdraw your heart from the love of things visible and turn yourself to things invisible. Those who yield to their sensual nature dishonor their conscience and forfeit God's grace.
HAVING A HUMBLE OPINION OF ONE 'S SELF
Everyone has a natural desire for knowledge but what good is knowledge without the fear of God? Surely a humble peasant who serves God is better than the proud astronomer who knows how to chart the heavens' stars but lacks all knowledge of himself.
If I truly knew myself I would look upon myself as insignificant and would not find joy in hearing others praise me. If I knew everything in the world and were still without charity, what advantage would I have in the eyes of God who is to judge me according to my deeds?
2. Curb all undue desire for knowledge, for in it you will find many distractions and much delusion. Those who are learned strive to give the appearance of being wise and desire to be recognized as such; but there is much knowledge that is of little or no benefit to the soul.
Whoever sets his mind on anything other than what serves his salvation is a senseless fool. A barrage of words does not make the soul happy, but a good life gladdens the mind and a pure conscience generates a bountiful confidence in God.
3. The more things you know and the better you know them, the more severe will your judgment be, unless you have also lived a holier life. Do not boast about the learning and skills that are yours; rather, be cautious since you do possess such knowledge.
4. If it seems to you that you know many things and thoroughly understand them all, realize that there are countless other things of which you are ignorant. Be not haughty, but admit your ignorance. Why should you prefer yourself to another, when there are many who are more learned and better trained in God's law than you are? If you are looking for knowledge and a learning that is useful to you, then love to be unknown and be esteemed as nothing.
5. This is the most important and most salutary lesson: to know and to despise ourselves. It is great wisdom and perfection to consider ourselves as nothing and always to judge well and highly of others. If you should see someone commit a sin or some grievous wrong, do not think of yourself as someone better, for you know not how long you will remain in your good state.
We are all frail; but think of yourself as one who is more frail than others.
THE TEACHING OF TRUTH
Happy is the individual whom Truth instructs, not by means of obscure figures and fleeting words, but as it truly is in itself.
Our way of thinking and perceiving often misleads us and teaches us very little. What good is there in arguing about obscure and recondite matters, when our ignorance of such things will not be in question on the Day of Judgment? It is utter absurdity for us to neglect the things that are useful and necessary, and needlessly occupy ourselves with those that are merely curious and perhaps harmful. We have eyes, but we do not see.
2. Why should we concern ourselves with such philosophical words as genera and species? He whom the eternal Word teaches is set free from a multitude of theories. From this one Word all things come into being; all things speak this one Word, and this Word, who is the beginning, also speaks to us. Without this Word no one can understand or judge correctly. He for whom all things are in the One, and who refers all things to the One, and sees all things in the One, can remain steadfast in heart and abide in God's peace.
O God my Truth, make me one with You in eternal love. Often I become weary with reading and hearing many things. You are all that I want and desire. Let all teachers be mute and all creation keep silence before You. Speak to me, You, and You alone.
3. The more we are united to You and become inwardly simple, the more we can, and effortlessly too, understand sublime things about You, for we receive light and understanding from above.
He who has a pure, simple, and constant spirit is not distracted by the many things he does, because he does all for the honor of God and endeavors to remain inwardly free of all seeking of himself. What greater hindrance or annoyance is there than our heart's uncontrolled passions?
The good and devout person first inwardly plans the works that he will outwardly do, and does not allow himself to be drawn by any unworthy inclination, but, on the contrary, he accomplishes these works in accordance with the dictates of right reason.
No one undergoes a stronger struggle than the man who tries to subdue himself. This should be our chief employment: strive to overcome ourselves and gain such a mastery that we daily grow stronger and better.
4. All perfection in this life has some imperfection mixed with it, and all speculative thought involves a certain amount of fuzziness. A humble knowledge of yourself is a surer way to God than any deep scientific inquiry.
Neither learning in general nor knowledge of even simple things ought to be condemned, since they are something good in themselves and ordained by God; but a good conscience and a virtuous life are always to be preferred. Because many people spend more time and effort in becoming educated than in living properly, it happens that many, therefore, go astray and bear little or no fruit.
5. If we were as diligent in uprooting vices and planting virtues as we are in debating abstruse questions, there would not be so many evils or scandals among us nor such laxity in monastic communities. Certainly, when Judgment Day comes we shall not be asked what books we have read, but what deeds we have done; we shall not be asked how well we have debated, but how devoutly we have lived.
Tell me, where now are all those professors and doctors with whom you were once so well acquainted when they were alive, and who were famous for their learning? Others hold their positions today and I wonder whether these ever think of their predecessors. While they were alive they appeared to be men of influence, but today no one even mentions their names.
6. O, how quickly the glory of the world evanesces! Would that their living had been equal to their learning; then they would have studied and lectured to good purpose.
How many perish in the world because of useless learning and for caring little about the service of God! Because they prefer to be famous rather than humble, they lose themselves in intellectual acrobatics and come to nothing.
He is truly great who has abundant charity. He is truly great who is unimportant in his own eyes and considers the greatest of honors a mere nothing. He is truly wise who esteems all earthly things as dung so that he may gain Christ. Finally, he who does God's will and abandons his own is truly the most learned.
PRUDENCE IN OUR ACTIONS
We ought not to be too ready to believe every word or item of gossip, but we ought to weigh each carefully and unhurriedly before God. Alas! Our weakness is such that we are often more readily inclined to believe and speak ill of someone than that which is good. But those who are perfect do not easily give credence to every tale they hear, for they know that human nature is prone to evil and that the human tongue can be treacherous.
2. It is a mark of great wisdom neither to be hasty in our actions nor stubbornly maintain our private opinions. It is also a part of wisdom neither to believe everything we hear, nor to pour it immediately into another's ear.
Seek counsel from one who is wise and honest and ask instruction from one you esteem; do not follow your own devices. A good life makes us wise in the eyes of God and makes us knowledgeable in many things. The more humble you are in heart and the more you submit yourself to God, the wiser will you be in everything, and greater peace will be yours.
READING THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
In Holy Scripture we seek truth and not eloquence. All Sacred Scripture should be read in the spirit with which it was written.
We should search the Scriptures for what is to our profit, rather than for niceties of language. You should read the simple and devout books as eagerly as those that are lofty and profound. The authority of the author, whether he be of great or little learning, ought not to influence you, but let the love of pure truth draw you to read them. Do not inquire about who is the one saying this, but pay attention to what he is saying.
2. Men enter and pass out of this world, but the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. God speaks to all of us in a variety of ways and is no respecter of persons. Our curiosity proves a hindrance to us, for while reading the Scriptures we sometimes want to stop to debate and discuss, when we should simply read on.
If you wish to derive profit from your reading of Scripture, do it with humility, simplicity, and faith; at no time use it to gain a reputation for being one who is learned. Eagerly ask yourself questions and listen in silence to the words of the saints, and do not let the riddles of the ancients baffle you. They were written down for a definite purpose.
Whenever you desire anything inordinately, you immediately find that you grow dissatisfied with yourself. Those who are proud and avaricious never arrive at contentment; it is the poor and the humble in spirit who live in great peace.
Anyone who is not totally dead to himself will soon find that he is tempted and overcome by piddling and frivolous things. Whoever is weak in spirit, given to the flesh, and inclined to sensual things can, but only with great difficulty, drag himself away from his earthly desires. Therefore, he is often gloomy and sad when he is trying to pull himself from them and easily gives in to anger should someone attempt to oppose him.
2. If he has given in to his inclinations and has yielded to his passions, he is then immediately afflicted with a guilty conscience. In no way do such yieldings help him to find the peace he seeks. It is by resisting our passions and not by being slaves to them that true peace of heart is to be found.
There is no peace, therefore, in the heart of the man who is given to the flesh, nor in the man who is attached to worldly things. Peace is found only in one who is fervent and spiritual.
AVOIDING VAIN HOPE AND SELF-CONCEIT
A fool is he who puts his trust in men or created things. Do not be ashamed to serve others for the love of Jesus Christ and to be reckoned as a poor man in this world.
Do not rely on yourself, but place your trust in God. Do whatever lies in your power and God will assist your good intentions. Trust neither in your own knowledge nor in the cleverness of any human being; rather, trust in God's grace, for it is He who supports the humble and humbles the overconfident.
2. Glory neither in wealth, if you have any, nor in friends, if they are powerful, but boast in God, the giver of all good things, who desires, above all, to bestow Himself on you.
Do not boast about your good looks nor your body's strength, which a slight illness can mar and disfigure. Do not take pride in your skills and talents lest you offend God, to whom you owe these very gifts and endowments.
3. Do not esteem yourself as someone better than others lest, perhaps, you be accounted for worse in the eyes of God, who knows what is in men's hearts. Take no pride in your good accomplishments for God judges differently than men and it often happens that what is pleasing to men is actually displeasing to God.
Table of Contents
|Book 1||Useful Reminders for the Spiritual Life|
|1.||Of the Imitation of Christ||30|
|2.||Of Having a Humble Opinion about Yourself||31|
|3.||Of the Teaching of Truth||32|
|4.||Of Thinking before You Act||34|
|5.||Of Reading Holy Writings||35|
|6.||Of Confused Feelings||35|
|7.||Of Avoiding Empty Hope and Self-Praise||36|
|8.||Of Avoiding Inappropriate Intimacy||37|
|9.||Of Obedience for Those under Religious Vows||37|
|10.||Of Avoiding Unnecessary Talk||38|
|11.||Of Finding Peace and Making Spiritual Progress||39|
|12.||Of Putting Troubles to Use||40|
|13.||Of Resisting Temptations||41|
|14.||Of Avoiding Hasty Judgments||43|
|15.||Of Works Done Out of Love||43|
|16.||Of Putting Up with Others' Faults||44|
|17.||Of the Monastic Life||45|
|18.||Of the Examples of the Holy Fathers||46|
|19.||Of the Training of a Good Religious Person||47|
|20.||Of the Love of Solitude and Silence||49|
|21.||Of Heartfelt Remorse||51|
|22.||Of Human Misery||53|
|23.||Of Thinking about Death||55|
|24.||Of Judgment and Punishment||57|
|25.||Of Improving Our Lives||59|
|Book 2||Suggestions Drawing One toward the Inner Life|
|1.||Of God Speaking within You||64|
|2.||Of Placing Your Life in God's Hands||66|
|3.||Of the Good and Peaceful Person||67|
|4.||Of Pure Feelings and Simple Intentions||68|
|5.||Of Paying Attention to One's Self||69|
|6.||Of the Joy of a Good Conscience||70|
|7.||Of Loving Jesus above All Else||71|
|8.||Of Intimate Friendship with Jesus||72|
|10.||Of Gratitude for God's Grace||75|
|11.||Of the Few Who Love Jesus's Cross||77|
|12.||Of the Royal Road of the Holy Cross||78|
|Book 3||Of Inner Comfort|
|1.||Of Christ Speaking in Your Own Heart||84|
|2.||That Truth Speaks Quietly to the Heart||85|
|3.||That We Should Listen to God's Words with Deep Humility and Serious Intent||86|
|4.||That We Should Live in God's Presence in Truth and Humility||88|
|5.||Of the Wonderful Effects of God's Love||89|
|6.||Of the Proof of a True Lover||91|
|7.||Of Protecting Grace with Humility||93|
|8.||Of Humility before God||95|
|9.||That All Things Come from God and Must Return to God||96|
|10.||Of How Good It Is to Serve God||97|
|11.||That Feelings May Not Always Be What They Seem||98|
|13.||Of Obedience and Humility||100|
|14.||Of Seeing Ourselves through God's Eyes||101|
|15.||Of What We Are to Do and Say about All Our Desires||102|
|16.||That We Are to Seek True Comfort in God Alone||103|
|17.||That We Should Take All Our Cares to God||104|
|18.||That We Should Bear Our Hardships Patiently after Christ's Example||105|
|19.||Of Bearing Injuries and the Proof of True Patience||106|
|20.||Of Admitting Our Own Weaknesses||107|
|21.||That We Should Rest in God above All Else||109|
|22.||Of Remembering God's Many Blessings||111|
|23.||Of Four Things that Bring Great Peace||112|
|24.||Of Avoiding Curiosity about Other People's Lives||114|
|25.||Of True Peace of Heart||115|
|26.||That True Freedom Comes More from Humble Prayer than from Much Reading||116|
|27.||That Self-love Blocks Us from Attaining the Highest Good||117|
|28.||Of Those Who Speak against Us||119|
|29.||Of How We Should Bless God in Times of Trial||119|
|30.||Of Asking for God's Help||120|
|31.||Of Setting Aside All Created Things that We May Find the Creator||122|
|32.||Of Growing beyond Self||123|
|33.||Of Our Changing Hearts, and of Focusing Our Sight on God||124|
|34.||That the Person Who Loves God Enjoys Him above All and in All||125|
|35.||That There Is No Freedom from Temptation in This Life||126|
|36.||That You Should Not Worry about What Other People May Say about You||127|
|37.||Of Gaining a Free Heart through Total Self-Surrender||128|
|38.||Of Controlling Our Behavior, and of Running to God in Time of Danger||129|
|39.||That a Person Must Not Be Overly Eager in His Affairs||130|
|40.||That All a Person's Goodness Comes from God, Not from Himself||131|
|41.||Of Seeing All Worldly Honor as Nothing||132|
|42.||That Peace Does Not Depend on Other People||133|
|43.||Against Arrogant Learning||134|
|44.||Of Minding Our Own Business||135|
|45.||That We Should Not Believe Everything We Hear and of How Easy It Is to Speak Ill of Others||136|
|46.||Of Having Confidence in God when Sharp Words Attack Us||137|
|47.||That All Burdens Are to Be Endured for the Sake of Eternal Life||139|
|48.||Of Life and of Eternity||140|
|49.||Of Longing for Eternal Life and of the Promise It Holds||142|
|50.||How a Lonely Person Should Place Himself in God's Hands||145|
|51.||That We Must Perform Humble Works When WeAre Unable to Perform Higher Ones||147|
|52.||That We Should Not Think Ourselves Worthy of Comfort but Deserving of Correction||148|
|53.||That God's Grace Does Not Mix with the Wisdom of the World||149|
|54.||Of the Differing Movements of Nature and Grace||150|
|55.||Of Fallen Nature and the Effect of Divine Grace||153|
|56.||That We Should Turn from Ourselves and Imitate Christ by Way of the Cross||154|
|57.||That We Should Not Be Too Dejected When We Fail||156|
|58.||Of Not Prying into Things That Are beyond Our Understanding||157|
|59.||That All Hope and Trust Should Be Fixed on God Alone||160|
|Book 4||The Book on the Sacrament|
|1.||With What Great Reverence Christ Should Be Received||164|
|2.||What Great Goodness and Love God Shows to Us in This Sacrament||168|
|3.||How It is Helpful to Receive Communion Often||170|
|4.||That Many Good Things Are Given to Those Who Devoutly Receive Communion||171|
|5.||Of the Dignity of the Sacrament and of the Priesthood||173|
|6.||The Question of Preparing before Communion||174|
|7.||Of Examining One's Conscience, and of Planning to Change for the Better||175|
|8.||Of Christ's Offering on the Cross, and of Our Own Self-Surrender||176|
|9.||That We Ought to Offer Ourselves and All That Is Ours to God, and That We Ought to Pray for All Others||177|
|10.||That Holy Communion Is Not to Be Lightly Omitted||179|
|11.||That the Body of Christ and the Holy Scriptures Are Most Necessary to the Faithful Soul||181|
|12.||That Receiving Christ in Holy Communion Requires Preparation||183|
|13.||That a Devout Soul Should Wish Wholeheartedly to Be United with Christ in the Sacrament||185|
|14.||Of the Ardent Desire of Some Devout People to Receive the Body of Christ||186|
|15.||That the Grace of Devotion Is Gained by Humility||187|
|16.||That We Should Make Our Needs Known to Christ and Ask for His Help||188|
|17.||Of Burning Love and the Strong Desire to Receive Christ||189|
|18.||That We Should Not Pry into This Sacrament Out of Curiosity||191|
Reading Group Guide
"God is our home but many of us have strayed from our native land. The venerable authors of these Spiritual Classics are expert guides--may we follow their directions home."--Archbishop Desmond TutuThe Vintage Spiritual Classics present the testimony of writers across the centuries who have pondered the mysterious ways, unfathomable mercies, and deep consolations afforded by God to those who call upon Him from out of the depths of their lives. These writers are our companions, even our champions, in a common effort to discern the meaning of God in personal experience.The questions, discussion topics, and background information that follow are designed to enhance your group's reading of the six works that make up the first series in Vintage Spiritual Classics. We hope they will provide you with a variety of ways of thinking and talking about these ancient and important texts.We offer this word about the act of reading these spiritual classics. From the very earliest accounts of monastic practice--dating back to the fourth century--it is evident that a form of reading called lectio divina ("divine" or "spiritual" reading) was essential to any deliberate spiritual life. This kind of reading is quite different from that of scanning a text for useful facts and bits of information, or advancing along an exciting plot line to a climax in the action. It is, rather, a meditative approach, by which the reader seeks to taste and savor the beauty and truth of every phrase and passage. There are four steps in lectio divina: first, to read, next to meditate, then to rest in the sense of God's nearness, and, ultimately, to resolve to govern one's actions in the light of new understanding. This kindof reading is itself an act of prayer. And, indeed, it is in prayer that God manifests His Presence to us.
1. Like the three previous classics of monastic literature, The Imitation of Christ is a guide to changing our lives and learning to grow closer to Christ in spirit and in deeds. The book opens with a quote and an exhortation: "'Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness'--.These are Christ's own words by which He exhorts us to imitate His life and His ways" [p. 3]. What does it mean to "follow" Christ in your life? How does Thomas à Kempis approach this task differently from the Desert Fathers, Benedict, and Saint Francis?
2. The injunction that one should "have a humble opinion of one's self" and "love to be unknown and be esteemed as nothing" [pp. 4-5] is quite at odds with the culture of ambition, striving, and success in which we live. What mental and practical conflicts arise when we attempt to live according to this rule? What does Thomas mean when he writes, "He is truly great who is unimportant in his own eyes and considers the greatest of honors a mere nothing"? Is it at all possible to reconcile such teachings with worldly success?
3. Thomas wrote his Imitation for his fellow monks and it is based on the monastic life. How can we who are not living in monasteries, but rather very much in the world, use his precepts to grow closer to God and to attain inner peace? Which of the principles here are easiest to adapt to the busy lives we lead at the end of the 20th century, which most difficult?
4. Like Benedict, Thomas encourages the practice of silence and the setting aside of time for prayer and deep personal reflection [pp. 26-29]. What are the parallels in our contemporary lives to "listening to idle news and gossip" [p. 27]? What time-wasting activities can we learn to do without, in order to make time for solitude and meditation? How does the Christian monastic practice of silence and meditation compare with that of Eastern religions like Buddhism? If you are familiar with "mindfulness meditation" or meditation as practiced by Buddhists, what is similar and what is different between these Asian-based approaches and the Christian monastic approach?
5. Thomas addresses the most difficult question of all, perhaps: that of having the resolve and making the commitment to change our lives: "Come now, and begin this very moment and say to yourself: 'Now is the time to do it--.Now is the right time to amend my life'" [p. 32]. How do you respond to such a radical challenge? Do you feel, like Augustine, the desire to be changed, but "not yet" [Confessions, Book VIII]?
6. How can Thomas's advice on living in community and "Bearing with One Another's Failings" [pp. 20-21] be used to better our relationships with those with whom we live and work? What particular insights into human intimacy did you find most useful?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book has over a hundred chapters by topic but this particular edition doesn't include the table of contents! Your nook will only list the "go to" chapters by number and you'll have no idea what the topics are. I'm sharing this so that others don't waste their money. It's unfortunate this information isn't available until you purchase a non-refundable ebook.
Simply put, this book changed my life.
A beautiful and inspiring guide to living in the Image of Christ. This book is simply structured by specific topics, short entries and scriptural citations. A "must have read" for enriching your prayer life and deepening your relationship with God.
I prefer this translation because it is the most penetrating, thought provoking, and most to the point. Comments on the book listed under various translations are not exaggerations. The book is applicable to all ages to all people, even non-Christians. The truths are basic, self-evident, and universal. You have already read or heard much content in other forms, but it is simply much better than anything you have ever read or heard on the myriad of ethical and moral issues. It is founded on basic Christian morality and theology, true, but non-Christians will appreciate and love the words as well. They may be surprised to find that they cherish every word as much (maybe in some cases more) than most Christians, regardless of some theology they do not agree with. I have also reviewed the other most recent translations. The one edited and translated by Joseph N. Tylenda is also well written, and I recommend you purchase both books and compare the two to one another. Keep the Tylenda book for its preface and introduction, and keep this one for the clearer, easier-to-understand content (a matter of taste, which is why you should buy both). This book is small, durable, compact in size and content, and has excellent quality paper. It is also among the least expensive, which has no relationship to its quality; paying more does not necessarily equate to being superior in quality. In my opinion, after comparing, you will buy multiple copies of this compact, maroon book for all your close friends as gifts.
A profound meditation on the interior life and sin.
Although written in the 15th century to a mainly monastic audience, The Imitation of Christ has great relevance for anyone today seeking a deeper spiritual life. His counsels are not easy to read and apply to one's life for his basic premise is dying to self which he explains with great clarity lest anyone should be slow to understand. Thomas a Kempis speaks as one who has struggled mightily with his own passions and demons, "The war against our vices and passions is harder than any physical toil; and whoever fails to overcome his lesser faults will gradually fall into greater. Your evenings will always be tranquil if you have spent the day well. Watch yourself, bestir yourself, admonish yourself and whatever others may do, never neglect your own soul. The stricter you are with yourself, the greater is your spiritual progress." These are not the words that people in any age are interested in hearing and yet he continues to draw large audiences more than five centuries later. There is a power in his writing because he has put into practice the difficult words of Jesus and thereby achieved a position of authority to teach others.
A Classic. An essential read for any devout Christian wanting to enhance their devotion to Our Lord Jesus Christ.