So one of the first things I figured I would try adding to my spiritual life was some spiritual reading. Quite conveniently, one of the books we have on the shelf is The Imitation of Christ by St. Thomas a Kempis. This is one of the books that I was supposed to read during my high school days, but did not because I held a bit of contempt for "holy reading", and was scared what I might learn if I attempted to start. Well, here I am, realizing the error of my ways, and willing to give it a shot. And lo and behold! A more fitting book I do not think I could have found. Divine Providence, as they say.
Now, there are so many quotes that I have thus far found that are so relevant to myself, and the world at large, but I am afraid that to type them all out to share with you would infringe upon some copyright law or another, so I will briefly lay out the outline, and then add a few quotes I particularly like at the end. It is written in four "books", all contained in one volume, and which are broken up into "chapters" of varying lengths and of which there are too many to mention and which are also broken up into sections. Book 1: Useful Admonitions For The Spiritual Life (25 chapters). Book 2: Considerations For Leading An Interior Life (12 chapters). Book 3: On Interior Conversion (59 chapters). Book 4: On The Blessed Sacrament And Devout Exhortations For Holy Communion (18 chapters). This particular edition is illustrated, has the Stations of the Cross and the Mysteries of the Rosary, and an index of where useful prayers and selections suitable to different states of life and needs of the faithful are located in the main text, for a total of 288 pages.
I am currently on chapter 21 (On Compunction of Heart) of the first book, and nearly everything I have read has been what I needed to hear, and what I believe all should hear during this particular time of Lent. I am not good at the whole meditative reading, but such passages as these could hardly have been read without reaction:
"Remember, the more you know, the more severely you will be judged." 1.2.3. (book.chapter.section)
"If you see another commit a grievous sin, or whose faults are flagrant, do not regard yourself as better, for you do not know what you would do if similarly tempted. You are in good disposition now, but you do not know how long you will persevere in it. Always keep in mind that all are frail, but none so frail as yourself." 1.2.4
"In reality, all of us are inclined to to our own will and agree more readily with those who hold with our views. But if we want to have the presence of God among us, then we must be willing to give up our own way in order to live in love and harmony with others. Surely there are no persons so wise that they know everything. Therefore, listen to the opinions of others and do not trust too much in your own point of view. Perhaps you are right, but by setting aside your own will and following another out of love for God, you profit by it." 1.9.2
"It is good to listen to every person's advice; but when it is sound, to disagree is sheer stubbornness." 1.9.3.
"Through temptations and trials our spiritual progress is tested. If we are fervent and devout and unaware of any difficulties, it is no credit to us; but if we endure patiently in the time of temptation or adversity, then our spiritual advancement is apparent." 1.13.8
"Adversity is the best test of virtue. The occasions of sin do not weaken anyone; on the contrary, they show that person's true worth." 1.16.4.
St. Thomas writes in such a straight forward manner, admonishing yet consoling at the same time. Easy to read, and yet quite reasonable and intellectual. My Lenten recommendation. :)Affiliate Link. All proceeds go to FRPC