Christmas with A Kempis

Chapter 25: Earnestness in Amending Our Lives or From Allah to Zarathustra, There is Nothing Better “[One] has no need to go beyond Jesus, for [one] will discover nothing better.” Allah, Buddha, Christ, Dao, Elohim…I was thinking about going through the whole alphabet naming more Ultimate Realities, but I got stuck on “F”. I thought […]

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Advent with A Kempis XXIV

Chapter 24: Judgment and Punishment for Sins or The 5 P’s “The [one] who habitually exercises patience goes through a wholesome purgatory while still alive” I have a weakness for alliterations, especially when the letter “P” is involved. Inspired by the above quote from today’s chapter, I have gleaned 5 ‘Advent with A Kempis’ Lessons […]

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XXIII Post Script

I just learned that death interrupted Brittany Murphy’s life on December 20th. My friends, whose apartment I’m house-sitting, have a DVD of one of her films: Girl, Interrupted. So I watched it. Ironically, Brittany plays a character whose tragic death acts as the catalyst for the protagonist’s transformation. The transformation was a movement out of […]

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Advent with A Kempis XXIII

Chapter 23: Meditation on Death or Invitation to Deeper Life “Listen!…Always think of death!” As Christmas Day approaches, the chapters in Imitation of Christ seem to grow more and more dark and negative. Yesterday’s chapter was Reflections on Human Wretchedness, tomorrow’s chapter is Judgment and Punishment for Sins, and the last line of Chapter 25 […]

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Advent with A Kempis XXII

Chapter 22: Reflection on Human Wretchedness “If you have eyes for heavenly things you will perceive that all temporal goods are mere trifles. They are unpredictable and highly troublesome because you can never possess them without some anxiety and apprehension.” I went shopping today, mostly to replace my housemates’ Wheat Thins that I scarfed down […]

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Advent with A Kempis XXI

Chapter 21: Repentance of Heart “Humbly pray to the Lord for the spirit of repentance, and say with the Prophet: Feed me with the bread of tears and give me tears to drink in full measure.” I love how these pre-modern religious authors exegete Scripture. In the above quote, Kempis is referencing Psalm 80:5, in […]

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Advent with A Kempis XX

“All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.” Blaise Pascal St. Romuald’s Brief Rule For Camaldolese Monks Sit in your cell as in paradise. Put the whole world behind you and forget it. Watch your thoughts like a good fisherman watching for fish, The path you must follow […]

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Advent with A Kempis XIX

Chapter 19: The Exercises of a Good Religious “The life of a good religious must abound with every virtue so that he can inwardly be what he outwardly professes to be” “Religious” here refers to the vocationally religious, mostly monks and nuns, but it leads me to ask… What do I profess to be as […]

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Advent with A Kempis XVIII

Chapter 18: The Examples of the Holy Fathers “Study the worthy examples of the holy Fathers, those illustrious models of true perfection and devotion, and you will conclude that you are doing very little or almost nothing.” Townes Van Zandt and Them Crooked Vultures play through my friends’ speakers in a colorful apartment on Nob […]

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Advent with A Kempis XVII

Chapter 17: The Monastic Life “It is no small matter to live in a monastery…” Blessed is the pilgrim With monk’s habit and tonsured head Blessed is the fool who seeks To suffer and not to spend To be tried and to be gold Blessed are the exiled For no one can remain here And […]

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