Thomas à Kempis

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There is no creature so small and abject, that it representeth not the goodness of God.

Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380 – 25 July 1471) was a German medieval Christian monk and author of The Imitation of Christ, one of the best known Christian books on devotion.

Quotes

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  • Whoever would fully and feelingly understand the words of Christ, must endeavor to conform his life wholly to the life of Christ.
    • Book I, ch. 1
  • If thou knewest the whole Bible by heart, and the sayings of all the philosophers, what would it profit thee without the love of God and without grace?
    • Book I, ch. 1
  • Many things there are to know which profiteth little or nothing to the soul.
    • Book I, ch. 2
  • Be not high-minded, but rather confess thine ignorance.
    • Book I, ch. 2
  • He who knoweth himself well is vile in his own sight;
    • Book I, ch. 2
  • To account nothing of one’s self, and to think always kindly and highly of others, this is great and perfect wisdom.
    • Book I, ch. 2
  • A pure, sincere, and stable spirit is not distracted though it be employed in many works; for that it works all to the honor of God, and inwardly being still and quiet, seeks not itself in any thing it doth.
    • Book I, ch. 3
  • Certe adveniente die judicii, non quæretur a nobis quid legimus, sed quid fecimus; nec quam bene diximus, sed quam religiose viximus.
    • At the Day of Judgement we shall not be asked what we have read but what we have done; not how well we have spoken, but how holily we have lived.
    • Book I, ch. 3; this is part of a longer passage:
A humble knowledge of oneself is a surer road to God than a deep searching of the sciences. Yet learning itself is not to be blamed, or is the simple knowledge of anything whatsoever to be despised, for true learning is good in itself and ordained by God; but a good conscience and a holy life are always to be preferred. But because many are more eager to acquire much learning than to live well, they often go astray, and bear little or no fruit. If only such people were as diligent in the uprooting of vices and the panting of virtues as they are in the debating of problems, there would not be so many evils and scandals among the people, nor such laxity in communities. At the Day of Judgement, we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done; not how eloquently we have spoken, but how holily we have lived. Tell me, where are now all those Masters and Doctors whom you knew so well in their lifetime in the full flower of their learning? Other men now sit in their seats, and they are hardly ever called to mind. In their lifetime they seemed of great account, but now no one speaks of them.
[Humili tui cognitio, certior viam est ad Deum, quam profunda scientiae inquisitio. Non est culpanda scientia, aut quelibet simplex rei notitia, quae bona est in se considerata, et a Deo ordinat: sed preferenda est semper bona conscientia, et virtuosa vita. Quia vero plures magis student scire, quam bene vivere: ideo saepe errant, et pene nullum, vel modicum fructum ferunt. O si tanta adhiberent diligentiam ad extirpanda vitia, et virtute inferendas, sicuti ad movenda questiones: non fierent tanta mala et scandala in populo nec tanta dissolutio in cenobiis ! Certe, adveniente die judicii, non quaeretur a nobis: quid legimus, sed quid fecimus: nec quam bene diximus, sed quam religiose viximus. Dic mihi: Ubi sunt modo omnes illi Domini et Magistri, quos bene novisti, dum adhuc viverent et studiis florerent? Iam eorum praebendas alii possident: et nescio, utrum de eis recogitent. In vita sua aliquid esse videbantur, et modo de illis tacetur.]
  • Book I, ch. 3
  • O quam cito transit gloria mundi.
    • How fast passes away the glory of this world.
    • Book I, ch. 3
    • Note: These words are used in the crowning of the pope.
  • Of a surety, at the Day of Judgment it will be demanded of us, not what we have read, but what we have done; not how well we have spoken, but how holily we have lived.
    • Book I, ch. 3
  • And because many seek knowledge rather than good living, therefore they go astray, and bear little or no fruit.
    • Book I, ch. 3
  • He is truly great that is great in charity. He is truly great that is little in himself, and maketh no account of any height of honor. And he is truly learned that doeth the will of God, and forsaketh his own will.
    • Book I, ch. 3
  • But they that are perfect, do not give ready heed to every news-bearer, for they know man’s weakness that it is prone to evil and unstable in words.
    • Book I, ch. 4
  • If thou desire to profit, read with humility, simplicity, and faithfulness; nor even desire the repute of learning.
    • Book I, ch. 5
  • The proud and the avaricious man are never at rest; while the poor and lowly of heart abide in the multitude of peace.
    • Book I, ch. 6
  • Be not lifted up because of thy strength or beauty of body, for with only a slight sickness it will fail and wither away. Be not vain of thy skilfulness or ability, lest thou displease God, from whom cometh every good gift which we have.
    • Book I, ch. 7
  • Peace is ever with the humble man, but in the heart of the proud there is envy and continual wrath.
    • Book I, ch. 7
  • Choose for thy companions God and His Angels only, and flee from the notice of men.
    • Book I, ch. 8
  • Therefore trust not too much to thine own opinion, but be ready also to hear the opinions of others.
    • Book I, ch. 9
  • How can he abide long time in peace who occupieth himself with other men’s matters, and with things without himself, and meanwhile payeth little or rare heed to the self within?
    • Book I, ch. 11
  • It is good for us that we sometimes have sorrows and adversities, for they often make a man lay to heart that he is only a stranger and sojourner, and may not put his trust in any worldly thing. It is good that we sometimes endure contradictions, and are hardly and unfairly judged, when we do and mean what is good. For these things help us to be humble, and shield us from vain-glory.
    • Book I, ch. 12
  • Yet, notwithstanding, temptations turn greatly unto our profit, even though they be great and hard to bear; for through them we are humbled, purified, instructed. All Saints have passed through much tribulation and temptation, and have profited thereby.
    • Book I, ch. 13
  • The beginning of all temptations to evil is instability of temper and want of trust in God; for even as a ship without a helm is tossed about by the waves, so is a man who is careless and infirm of purpose tempted, now on this side, now on that. As fire testeth iron, so doth temptation the upright man.
    • Book I, ch. 13
  • And so little by little the enemy entereth in altogether, because he was not resisted at the beginning.
    • Book I, ch. 13
  • Look well unto thyself, and beware that thou judge not the doings of others. In judging others a man laboureth in vain; he often erreth, and easily falleth into sin; but in judging and examining himself he always laboureth to good purpose.
    • Book I, ch. 14
  • Occasions of adversity best discover how great virtue or strength each one hath. For occasions do not make a man frail, but they show what he is.
    • Book I, ch. 15
  • Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.
    • Book I, ch. 16
  • Endeavour to be patient in bearing with other men’s faults and infirmities whatsoever they be, for thou thyself also hast many things which have need to be borne with by others.
    • Book I, ch. 16
  • We are ready to see others made perfect, and yet we do not amend our own shortcomings.
    • Book I, ch. 16
  • We desire rules to be made restraining others, but by no means will we suffer ourselves to be restrained. Thus therefore doth it plainly appear how seldom we weigh our neighbour in the same balance with ourselves.
    • Book I, ch. 16
  • Homo proponit, sed Deus disponit.
    • Man proposes, but God disposes.
    • Book I, ch. 19
  • We ought daily to renew our vows, and to kindle our hearts to zeal, as if each day were the first day of our conversion, and to say, “Help me, O God, in my good resolutions, and in Thy holy service, and grant that this day I may make a good beginning, for hitherto I have done nothing!”
    • Book I, ch. 19
  • For if he who resolveth bravely oftentimes falleth short, how shall it be with him who resolveth rarely or feebly?
    • Book I, ch. 19
  • In the morning make thy resolves, and in the evening inquire into thy life, how thou hast sped to-day in word, deed, and thought;
    • Book I, ch. 19
  • Be thou never without something to do; be reading, or writing, or praying, or meditating, or doing something that is useful to the community.
    • Book I, ch. 19
  • What canst thou see elsewhere which thou canst not see here? Behold the heaven and the earth and all the elements; for of these are all things created.
    • Book I, ch. 20
  • It is easier not to speak a word at all than to speak more words than we should.
    • Book I, ch. 20
  • No man ruleth safely but that he is willingly ruled.
    • Book I, ch. 20
  • Seek a suitable time for thy meditation, and think frequently of the mercies of God to thee.
    • Book I, ch. 20
  • The greatest saints used to avoid as far as they could the company of men, and chose to live in secret with God.
    • Book I, ch. 20
  • One hath said, “As oft as I have gone among men, so oft have I returned less a man.” This is what we often experience when we have been long time in conversation.
    • Book I, ch. 20
  • Thou art miserable wheresoever thou art, and whithersoever thou turnest, unless thou turn thee to God.
    • Book I, ch. 22
  • So long as we carry about with us this frail body, we cannot be without sin, we cannot live without weariness and trouble.
    • Book I, ch. 22
  • Arise, begin this very moment, and say, “Now is the time to do: now is the time to fight, now is the proper time for amendment.”
    • Book I, ch. 22
  • There is no man in the world free from trouble or anguish, though he were King or Pope.
    • Book I, ch. 22
  • Thou oughtest in every deed and thought so to order thyself, as if thou wert to die this day.
    • Book I, ch. 23
  • If to-day thou art not ready, how shalt thou be ready to-morrow? To-morrow is an uncertain day; and how knowest thou that thou shalt have a to-morrow?
    • Book I, ch. 23
  • Happy is the man who hath the hour of his death always before his eyes, and daily prepareth himself to die.
    • Book I, ch. 23
  • For a perfect contempt of the world, a fervent desire to excel in virtue, the love of discipline, the painfulness of repentance, readiness to obey, denial of self, submission to any adversity for love of Christ; these are the things which shall give great confidence of a happy death. Whilst thou art in health thou hast many opportunities of good works; but when thou art in sickness I know not how much thou wilt be able to do.
    • Book I, ch. 23
  • How many times hast thou heard how one was slain by the sword, another was drowned, another falling from on high broke his neck, another died at the table, another whilst at play! One died by fire, another by the sword, another by the pestilence, another by the robber. Thus cometh death to all, and the life of men swiftly passeth away like a shadow.
    • Book I, ch. 23
  • Now the time is most precious. Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.
    • Book I, ch. 23
  • And when he is out of sight, quickly also is he out of mind.
    • Book I, ch. 23.
  • Learn now to suffer a little, that then thou mayest be enabled to escape heavier sufferings.
    • Book I, ch. 24
  • All therefore is vanity, save to love God and to serve Him only. .
    • Book I, ch. 24
  • He that avoideth not small faults, by little and little falleth into greater.
    • Book I, ch. 25
  • There is no great trust to be placed in a frail and mortal man, even though he be useful and dear to us, neither should much sorrow arise within us if sometimes he oppose and contradict us. They who are on thy side to-day, may to-morrow be against thee, and often are they turned round like the wind. Put thy whole trust in God and let Him be thy fear and thy love, He will answer for thee Himself, and will do for thee what is best.
    • Book II, ch. 1
  • All things pass away and thou equally with them. Look that thou cleave not to them lest thou be taken with them and perish.
    • Book II, ch. 1
  • Make no great account who is for thee or against thee, but mind only the present duty and take care that God be with thee in whatsoever thou doest.
    • Book II, ch. 2
  • God protecteth and delivereth the humble man, He loveth and comforteth the humble man, to the humble man He inclineth Himself, on the humble He bestoweth great grace, and when he is cast down He raiseth him to glory: to the humble He revealeth His secrets, and sweetly draweth and inviteth him to Himself.
    • Book II, ch. 2
  • First keep the peace within yourself, then you can also bring peace to others.
    • Book II, ch. 3.
  • A passionate man turneth even good into evil and easily believeth evil; a good, peaceable man converteth all things into good.
    • Book II, ch. 3
  • . . . be able to live peaceably with the hard and perverse, or with the disorderly, or those who oppose us, this is a great grace and a thing much to be commended and most worthy of a man.
    • Book II, ch. 3
  • . . . all our peace in this sad life lieth in humble suffering rather than in not feeling adversities. He who best knoweth how to suffer shall possess the most peace;
    • Book II, ch. 3
  • Simplicity and purity are the two wings by which a man is lifted above all earthly things. Simplicity is in the intention; purity in the affection. Simplicity tends to God; purity apprehends and tastes Him.
    • Book II, ch. 4
  • There is no creature so small and abject, that it representeth not the goodness of God.
    • Book II, ch. 4
  • As iron cast into the fire loseth rust and is made altogether glowing, so the man who turneth himself altogether unto God is freed from slothfulness and changed into a new man.
    • Book II, ch. 4
  • If thou think wholly upon thyself and upon God, what thou seest out of doors shall move thee little.
    • Book II, ch. 5
  • Thou art none the holier if thou art praised, nor the viler if thou art reproached. Thou art what thou art; and thou canst not be better than God pronounceth thee to be.
    • Book II, ch. 7
  • As it is written, To him that overcometh I will give to eat of the tree of life. Divine comfort is given that a man may be stronger to bear adversities.
    • Book II, ch. 9
  • Dispose thyself to patience rather than to comfort, and to the bearing of the cross rather than to gladness.
    • Book II, ch. 10
  • Jesus hath many lovers of His heavenly kingdom, but few bearers of His Cross.
    • Book II, ch. 11
  • But they who love Jesus for Jesus’ sake, and not for any consolation of their own, bless Him in all tribulation and anguish of heart as in the highest consolation.
    • Book II, ch. 11
  • What is it then? That having given up all things besides, he give up himself and go forth from himself utterly, and retain nothing of self-love; and having done all things which he knoweth to be his duty to do, that he feel that he hath done nothing.
    • Book II, ch. 11
  • If thou bear it unwillingly, thou makest a burden for thyself and greatly increaseth thy load, and yet thou must bear it. If thou cast away one cross, without doubt thou shalt find another and perchance a heavier.
    • Book II, ch. 12
  • . . . dost thou seek for thyself rest and joy? Thou art wrong, thou art wrong, if thou seekest aught but to suffer tribulations, for this whole mortal life is full of miseries, and set round with crosses.
    • Book II, ch. 12
  • . . . there is no means of escaping from tribulation and sorrow, except to bear them patiently.
    • Book II, ch. 12
  • So long as it is hard to thee to suffer and thou desirest to escape, so long it will not be well with thee, and tribulations will follow thee everywhere.
    • Book II, ch. 12
  • For our worthiness and growth in grace lieth not in many delights and consolations, but rather in bearing many troubles and adversities.
    • Book II, ch. 12
  • . . . speak Thou, O Lord, who didst inspire and illuminate all the prophets;
    • Book III, ch. 2
  • For a little reward men make a long journey; for eternal life many will scarce lift a foot once from the ground.
    • Book III, ch. 3
  • thou art far weaker than thou art able to comprehend. Let, therefore, nothing which thou doest seem to thee great; let nothing be grand, nothing of value or beauty, nothing worthy of honour, nothing lofty, nothing praiseworthy or desirable, save what is eternal
    • Book III, ch. 4
  • Deliver me from evil passions, and cleanse my heart from all inordinate affections, that, being healed and altogether cleansed within, I may be made ready to love, strong to suffer, steadfast to endure.
    • Book III, ch. 5
  • Love is swift, sincere, pious, pleasant, gentle, strong, patient, faithful, prudent, long-suffering, manly and never seeking her own; for whosoever a man seeketh his own, there he falleth from love.
    • Book III, ch. 5
  • ‘Depart unclean spirit; put on shame, miserable one; horribly unclean art thou, who bringest such things to mine ears. Depart from me, detestable deceiver; thou shalt have no part in me; but Jesus shall be with me, as a strong warrior, and thou shalt stand confounded. Rather would I die and bear all suffering, than consent unto thee.
    • Book III, ch. 6
  • They who enter the narrow way of life for Thy Name’s sake, and have put away all worldly cares, shall attain great liberty of spirit.
    • Book III, ch. 10
  • O Lord God, I see that patience is very necessary unto me; for many things in this life fall out contrary.
    • Book III, ch. 12
  • Of two evils, the less is always to be chosen.
    • Book III. ch. 12
  • There is no more grievous and deadly enemy to the soul than thou art to thyself, if thou art not led by the Spirit.
    • Book III, ch. 13
  • I became the most humble and despised of men, that by My humility thou mightest overcome thy pride.
    • Book III, ch. 13
  • What is all flesh in Thy sight? For how shall the clay boast against Him that fashioned it?
    • Book III, ch. 14
  • Grant that I may die to all worldly things, and for Thy sake love to be despised and unknown in this world.
    • Book III, ch. 15
  • . . . do with me what Thou wilt, for whatsoever Thou shalt do with me cannot be aught but good. Blessed be Thou if Thou wilt leave me in darkness:
    • Book III, ch. 17
  • I gently bore contradictions and hard words; I received ingratitude for benefits, blasphemies for My miracles, rebukes for My doctrine.
    • Book III, ch. 18
  • And say not ‘I cannot bear these things from such a man, nor are things of this kind to be borne by me, for he hath done me grievous harm and imputeth to me what I had never thought: but from another I will suffer patiently, such things as I see I ought to suffer.’ Foolish is such a thought as this, for it considereth not the virtue of patience, nor by whom that virtue is to be crowned, but it rather weigheth persons and offences against self.
    • Book III, ch. 19
  • Strive, My Son, to do another’s will rather than thine own. Choose always to have less rather than more. Seek always after the lowest place, and to be subject to all. Wish always and pray that the will of God be fulfilled in thee.
    • Book III, ch. 23
  • watch thou thyself in godly peace, and leave him who is unquiet to be unquiet as he will. Whatsoever he shall do or say, shall come unto him, for he cannot deceive Me. Trouble not thyself about the shadow of a great name, nor about the friendship of many, nor about the love of men towards thee. For these things beget distraction and great sorrows of heart.
    • Book III, ch. 24
  • Know thou that the love of thyself is more hurtful to thee than anything in the world.
    • Book III, ch. 27
  • Grant me prudently to avoid the flatterer, and patiently to bear with him that opposeth me;
    • Book III, ch. 27
  • And he who seeketh not to please men, nor feareth to displease, shall enjoy abundant peace.
    • Book III, ch. 28
  • What doth care about future events bring thee, save sorrow upon sorrow? Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof. It is vain and useless to be disturbed or lifted up about future things which perhaps will never come.
    • Book III, ch. 30
  • O Lord, self-renunciation is not the work of one day, nor children's sport; yea, rather in this word is included all perfection.
    • Book III, ch. 32
  • Thou dwellest among foes, and art attacked on the right hand and on the left. If therefore thou use not on all sides the shield of patience, thou wilt not remain long unwounded.
    • Book III, ch. 35
  • If thou seek rest in this life, how wilt them then attain to the everlasting rest? Dispose not thyself for much rest, but for great patience. Seek true peace — not in earth, but in heaven; not in men, nor in any other creature, but in God alone.
    • Book III, ch. 35
  • For the love of God thou must willingly undergo all things, whether labours or sorrows, temptations, vexations, anxieties, necessities, infirmities, injuries, gainsayings, rebukes, humiliations, confusions, corrections, despisings;
    • Book III, ch. 35
  • Thinkest thou that thou shalt always have spiritual consolations at thy will? My Saints had never such, but instead thereof manifold griefs, and divers temptations, and heavy desolations.
    • Book III, ch. 35
  • Many men have many opinions, and therefore little trust is to be placed in them.
    • Book III, ch. 36
  • Fear God and thou shalt not quail before the terrors of men.
    • Book III, ch. 36
  • My Son, make it no matter of thine, if thou see others honoured and exalted, and thyself despised and humbled. Lift up thine heart to Me in heaven, and then the contempt of men upon earth will not make thee sad.
    • Book III, ch. 41
  • I am He who in an instant lift up the humble spirit, to learn more reasonings of the Eternal Truth, than if a man had studied ten years in the schools. I teach without noise of words, without confusion of opinions, without striving after honour, without clash of arguments. I am He who teach men to despise earthly things, to loathe things present, to seek things heavenly, to enjoy things eternal, to flee honours, to endure offences, to place all hope in Me, to desire nothing apart from Me, and above all things to love Me ardently.
    • Book III, ch. 43
  • That which profiteth little or nothing is looked after, and that which is altogether necessary is negligently passed by;
    • Book III, ch. 44
  • That we must give ourselves to humble works when we are unequal to those that are lofty
    • Book III, ch. 51
  • “My Son, pay diligent heed to the motions of Nature and of Grace, because they move in a very contrary and subtle manner, and are hardly distinguished save by a spiritual and inwardly enlightened man. All men indeed seek good, and make pretence of something good in all that they say or do; and thus under the appearance of good many are deceived.
2. “Nature is deceitful and draweth away, ensnareth, and deceiveth many, and always hath self for her end; but Grace walketh in simplicity and turneth away from every appearance of evil, maketh no false pretences, and doeth all entirely for the sake of God, in whom also she finally resteth.
3. “Nature is very unwilling to die, and to be pressed down, and to be overcome, and to be in subjection, and to bear the yoke readily; but Grace studieth self-mortification, resisteth sensuality, seeketh to be subdued, longeth to be conquered, and willeth not to use her own liberty. She loveth to be held by discipline, and not to have authority over any, but always to live, to remain, to have her being under God, and for God’s sake is ready to be humbly subject to every ordinance of man.
4. “Nature laboureth for her own advantage, and considereth what profit she may gain from another; but Grace considereth more, not what may be useful and convenient to self, but what may be profitable to the many.
5. “Nature willingly receiveth honour and reverence; but Grace faithfully ascribeth all honour and glory to God.
6. “Nature feareth confusion and contempt, but Grace rejoiceth to suffer shame for the name of Jesus.
7. “Nature loveth ease and bodily quiet; Grace cannot be unemployed, but gladly embraceth labour.
8. “Nature seeketh to possess things curious and attractive, and abhorreth those which are rough and cheap; Grace is delighted with things simple and humble, despiseth not those which are rough, nor refuseth to be clothed with old garments.
9. “Nature hath regard to things temporal, rejoiceth in earthly lucre, is made sad by loss, vexed by any little injurious word; but Grace reacheth after things eternal, cleaveth not to those which are temporal, is not perturbed by losses, nor embittered by any hard words, because she hath placed her treasure and joy in heaven where nought perisheth.
10. “Nature is covetous, and receiveth more willingly than she giveth, loveth things that are personal and private to herself; while Grace is kind and generous, avoideth selfishness, is contented with a little, believeth that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
    • Book III. ch. 54
  • Without the Way,
    there is no going,
    Without the Truth,
    there is no knowing,
    Without the Life,
    there is no living.
    • Book III. ch. 56
  • My Son, patience and humility in adversities are more pleasing to Me than much comfort and devotion in prosperity.
    • Book III, ch. 57
  • All is not frustrated, though thou find thyself very often afflicted or grievously tempted. Thou art man, not God; thou art flesh, not an angel.
    • Book III, ch. 57
  • My Son, beware thou dispute not of high matters and of the hidden judgments of God; why this man is thus left, and that man is taken into so great favour; why also this man is so greatly afflicted, and that so highly exalted. These things pass all man’s power of judging, neither may any reasoning or disputation have power to search out the divine judgments. When therefore the enemy suggesteth these things to thee, or when any curious people ask such questions, answer with that word of the Prophet, Just art Thou, O Lord, and true is Thy judgment, and with this, The judgments of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. My judgments are to be feared, not to be disputed on, because they are incomprehensible to human understanding.
    • Book III, ch. 58
  • Even though Thou dost expose me to divers temptations and adversities, Thou ordainest all this unto my advantage, for Thou are wont to prove Thy beloved ones in a thousand ways.
    • Book III, ch. 59
  • Lament grievously and be sorry, because thou art still so carnal and worldly, so unmortified from thy passions, so full of the motion of concupiscence, so unguarded in thine outward senses, so often entangled in many vain fancies, so much inclined to outward things, so negligent of internal; so ready to laughter and dissoluteness, so unready to weeping and contrition; so prone to ease and indulgence of the flesh, so dull to zeal and fervour; so curious to hear novelties and behold beauties, so loth to embrace things humble and despised; so desirous to have many things, so grudging in giving, so close in keeping; so inconsiderate in speaking, so reluctant to keep silence; so disorderly in manners, so inconsiderate in actions; so eager after food, so deaf towards the Word of God; so eager after rest, so slow to labour; so watchful after tales, so sleepy towards holy watchings; so eager for the end of them, so wandering in attention to them; so negligent in observing the hours of prayer, so lukewarm in celebrating, so unfruitful in communicating; so quickly distracted, so seldom quite collected with thyself; so quickly moved to anger, so ready for displeasure at others; so prone to judging, so severe at reproving; so joyful in prosperity, so weak in adversity; so often making many good resolutions and bringing them to so little effect.
    • Book IV, ch. 7
  • I offer also to Thee prayers and Sacramental intercessions for those specially who have injured me in aught, made me sad, or spoken evil concerning me, or have caused me any loss or displeasure; for all those also whom I have at any time made sad, disturbed, burdened, and scandalized, by words or deeds, knowingly or ignorantly; that to all of us alike, Thou mayest equally pardon our sins and mutual offences. Take away, O Lord, from our hearts all suspicion, indignation, anger, and contention, and whatsoever is able to injure charity and diminish brotherly love. Have mercy, have mercy, Lord, on those who entreat Thy mercy; give grace to the needy; and make us such that we may be worthy to enjoy Thy grace, and go forward to the life eternal.
    • Book IV, ch. 9
  • For they truly know their Lord in the breaking of bread, whose heart within them so vehemently burneth, whilst Thou, O blessed Jesus, dost walk and converse with them.
    • Book IV, ch. 14

Quotes about

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  • The book of Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, has long been appreciated in the East not only by virtue of its content but because of the meaning of its title. In the midst of medieval idolatry of Christ, the voice of Thomas à Kempis resounded in protest. From behind the walls of a Catholic monastery rang out a voice to clarify the Image of the Great Teacher. The very word imitation comprises a vital action. The formula — Imitation of Christ — is an achievement of daring innate in the conscious spirit that accepts all responsibility of creation. Truly, the conscious pupil dares to approach the Teacher in imitation. Such an example brought light into the musty darkness and behind the monastic walls provided the impetus to strive toward creative daring. In accordance with the groveling medieval consciousness, it would have been fitting to say, "The Worship of Christ." But the ascendant spirit dared to pronounce a call to imitation. Each step of blessed daring must be cherished as a milestone in the progress of humanity. We do not give attention to monastic utterances. Thomas had no need to climb to the stake — his task was to proclaim not the forbidden but the inspiring formula.
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