Insights From Thomas A’ Kempis

Thomas a’ Kempis is part of a renewal movement (The Brothers Of The Common Life) in the Catholic tradition before the Reformation.

From God: Alone you cannot do it; alone, I will not. I.e. we must work together to see you transformed.

Thomas loved to teach, wrote teaching materials for young monks, and just loved to be in prayer.

The Imitation Of Christ is his major work, written to meditate on the imitation of Jesus for Christians.

Probably the most important work in christendom other than the bible.

Would you rather define humility, or actually have it?


“Love is a great thing, yea, a great and thorough good; by itself it makes every thing that is heavy, light; and it bears evenly all that is uneven. For it carries a burden which is no burden, and makes every thing that is better, sweet and tasteful. The noble love of jesus impels a man to do great things, and stirs him up too be always longing for what is more perfect.”

“Love flies, runs, leaps for joy… love therefore does great things.”

“When comfort is withdrawn, don’t despair….”

“I have never known anyone, religious or devout, who did not experience the withdrawal of grace.”

Consolation: God gives you his rich experiences so you will be strong, but leaves so you will not be proud. You’d be triumphalistic; you’d be a boor. He knows that you need to hunger for him.

We are surprised that we hurt.

Many Christians have thin souls, and are bewildered that they don’t have the strength to move forward. We need Fat Souls. “Those who trust in the Lord shall be made fat.” (Prov. 24:28, KJV)

Augustine: “Narrow is the mansion of my soul; enlarge thou it…”

Fat Souls

Why do our souls remain thin?

Apparently it’s more important that God knows us than that we know God (Gal. 4:9). We must allow the Lord to know us.

We resist grace when we implement various forms of hiding from love.

Jeremiah 7:31 — apparently human beings can create evil that God has never thought about. Also, God seems to stay back from, in some real way, from the place He is not invited.

How We Stay Thin Souls (Gerald May)

* Rationalization
* Hiding
* Delaying Tactics
* I can’t handle it
* I can handle it
* Breakdown
* Collusion (secret agreements)

Bonhoeffer suggest that the greatest evidence that we live in isolation is the fact that we can’t look deeply into anyone’s eyes for very long.

Trusting that God is with us, improving the condition of our souls as we keep abiding in Him, even if we are not yet who we want to be.

“If you’re willing to serenely bear the trail of being displeasing to yourself, then you will be for Jesus a pleasant place of shelter.” Therese de Liseux

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