"The greatest glory we can give to God is to do his will in everything."

St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"Though the path is plain and smooth for people of good will, those who walk it will not travel far, and will do so only with difficulty if they do not have good feet, courage, and tenacity of spirit. "

St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"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?"

Thomas á Kempis

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About the "Imitation" - first published anonymously in A.D. 1418

 

THE IMITATION OF CHRIST

   

By Thomas à Kempis

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Foreword

 
 

Book ONE. Thoughts Helpful in the Life of the Soul

  1.  Imitating Christ and Despising All Vanities on Earth
  2. Having a Humble Opinion of Self
  3. The Doctrine of Truth
  4. Prudence in Action
  5. Reading the Holy Scripture
  6. Unbridled Affections
  7. Avoiding False Hope and Pride
  8. Shunning Over-Familiarity
  9. Obedience and Subjection
  10. Avoiding Idle Talk
  11. Acquiring Peace and Zeal for Perfection
  12. The Value of Adversity
  13. Resisting Temptation
  14. Avoiding Rash Judgment
  15. Works Done in Charity
  16. Bearing with the Faults of Others
  17. Monastic Life
  18. The Example Set Us by the Holy Fathers
  19. The Practices of a Good Religious
  20. The Love of Solitude and Silence
  21. Sorrow of Heart
  22. Thoughts on the Misery of Man
  23. Thoughts on Death
  24. Judgment and the Punishment of Sin
  25. Zeal in Amending our Lives
   
 

Book TWO. The Interior Life

  1.  Meditation
  2. Humility
  3. Goodness and Peace in Man
  4. Purity of Mind and Unity of Purpose
  5. Ourselves
  6. The Joy of a Good Conscience
  7. Loving Jesus Above All Things
  8. The Intimate Friendship of Jesus
  9. Wanting No Share in Comfort
  10. Appreciating God's Grace
  11. Few Love the Cross of Jesus
  12. The Royal Road of the Holy Cross
 
 

 Book THREE. Internal Consolation

  1.  The Inward Conversation of Christ with the Faithful Soul
  2. Truth Speaks Inwardly Without the Sound of Words
  3. Listen Humbly to the Words of God. Many Do Not Heed Them
  4. We Must Walk Before God in Humility and Truth
  5. The Wonderful Effect of Divine Love
  6. The Proving of a True Lover
  7. Grace Must Be Hidden Under the Mantle of Humility
  8. Self-Abasement in the Sight of God
  9. All Things should be Referred to God as their Last End
  10. To Despise the World and Serve God is Sweet
  11. The Longings of our Hearts Must be Examined and Moderated
  12. Acquiring Patience in the Fight Against Concupiscence
  13. The Obedience of One Humbly Subject to the Example of Jesus Christ
  14. Consider the Hidden Judgments of God Lest You Become Proud of Your Own Good Deeds
  15. How One Should Feel and Speak on Every Desirable Thing
  16. True Comfort Is to Be Sought in God Alone
  17. All Our Care is to Be Placed in God
  18. Temporal Sufferings Should Be Borne Patiently, After the Example of Christ
  19. True Patience in Suffering
  20. Confessing Our Weakness in the Miseries of Life
  21. Above All Goods and All Gifts We Must Rest in God
  22. Remember the Innumerable Gifts of God
  23. Four Things Which Bring Great Peace
  24. Avoiding Curious Inquiry About the Lives of Others
  25 The Basis of Firm Peace of Heart and True Progress
  26. The Excellence of a Free Mind, Gained Through Prayer Rather Than By Study
  27. Self-Love is the Greatest Hindrance to the Highest Good
  28. Strength Against Slander
  29. How We Must Call Upon and Bless the Lord When Trouble Presses
  30. The Quest of Divine Help and Confidence in Regaining Grace
  31. To Find the Creator, Forsake All Creatures
  32. Self-Denial and the Renunciation of Evil Appetites
  33. Restlessness of Soul—Directing Our Final Intention Toward God
  34. God is Sweet Above All Things and in All Things to Those Who Love Him
  35. There is No Security from Temptation in This Life
  36. The Vain Judgments of Men
  37. Pure and Entire Resignation of Self to Obtain Freedom of Heart
  38. The Right Ordering of External Affairs; Recourse to God in Dangers
  39. A Man Should Not Be Unduly Solicitous About His Affairs
  40. Man Has No Good in Himself and Can Glory in Nothing
  41. Contempt for All Earthly Honor
  42. Peace is Not to Be Placed in Men
  43. Beware Vain and Worldly Knowledge
  44. Do Not Be Concerned About Outward Things
  45. All Men Are Not to Be Believed, for It Is Easy to Err in Speech
  46. Trust in God Against Slander
  47. Every Trial Must Be Borne for the Sake of Eternal Life
  48. The Day of Eternity and the Distresses of This Life
  49. The Desire of Eternal Life; the Great Rewards Promised to Those Who Struggle
  50. How a Desolate Person Ought to Commit Himself Into the Hands of God
  51. When We Cannot Attain to the Highest, We Must Practice the Humble Works
  52. A Man Ought Not to Consider Himself Worthy of Consolation, But Rather Deserving of Chastisement
  53. God's Grace Is Not Given to the Earthly Minded
  54. The Different Motions of Nature and Grace
  55. The Corruption of Nature and the Efficacy of Divine Grace
  56. We Ought to Deny Ourselves and Imitate Christ Through Bearing the Cross
  57. A Man Should Not Be Too Downcast When He Falls Into Defects
  58. High Matters and the Hidden Judgments of God Are Not to Be Scrutinized
  59. All Hope and Trust Are to Be Fixed In God Alone
 
 

Book FOUR. An Invitation to Holy Communion

  1.  The Great Reverence With Which We Should Receive Christ
  2. God's Great Goodness and Love is Shown to Man in This Sacrament
  3. It Is Profitable to Receive Communion Often
  4. Many Blessings Are Given Those Who Receive Communion Worthily
  5. The Dignity of the Sacrament and of the Priesthood
  6. An Inquiry on the Proper Thing to Do Before Communion
  7. The Examination of Conscience and the Resolution to Amend
  8. The Offering of Christ on the Cross; Our Offering
  9. We Should Offer Ourselves and All That We Have to God, Praying for All
  10. Do Not Lightly Forego Holy Communion
  11. The Body of Christ and Sacred Scripture Are Most Necessary to a Faithful Soul
  12. The communicant Should Prepare Himself for Christ with Great Care
  13. With All Her Heart the Devout Soul Should Desire Union with Christ in the Sacrament
  14. The Ardent Longing of Devout Men for the Body of Christ
  15. The Grace of Devotion is Acquired Through Humility and Self-Denial
  16. We Should Show Our Needs to Christ and Ask His Grace
  17. The Burning Love and Strong Desire to Receive Christ
  18. Man Should Not Scrutinize This Sacrament in Curiosity, But Humbly Imitate Christ and Submit Reason to Holy Faith
 

The End