Counsels on the Spiritual Life

I’ve been using Thomas a Kempis’ (he of pointy face) abridged version of The Imitation entitled Counsels on the Spiritual Life as part of my quiet time for a few months now. Some of it (particularly the later parts) are plainly dodgy, but there are some good and helpful bits in there too, especially near the start. You can pick up this tiny penguin paperback for pence off Amazon. Here’s a few good bits:

“Of what use is it to discourse learnedly on the Trinity if you lack humility and therefore displease the Trinity? Lofty words do not make a man just or holy; but a good life makes him dear to God. I would far rather feel contrition than be able to define it. If you knew the whole Bible by heart, and all the teachings of the philosophers, how would this help you without the grace and love of God?”

“A humble countryman who serves God is more pleasing to him than a conceited intellectual who knows the course of the stars, but neglects his own soul.”

“It does you no harm when you esteem all others better than yourself, but it does you great harm when you esteem yourself above others.”

“We need especially to be on guard at the very onset of temptation, for then the Enemy may be more easily overcome, if he is not allowed to enter the gates of the mind.”

“In judging others, we expend our energy to no purpose; we are often mistaken, and easily sin.”

“Strive to be patient; bear with the faults and frailties of others, for you too, have many faults which others have to bear.”

“Your evenings will always be tranquil if you have spent the day well.”

Now to read The Imitation of Christ


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