Friday, April 15, 2011

More Spiritual Help from the Imitation of Christ

On the Love of Solitude and of Silence

"...Must you be always gossiping, always going about aimlessly, picking up the latest rumours? If you can do without that, you will find plenty of suitable occasions for getting on with your meditations. The great Saints always avoided the society of other people as much as they could; they wanted to be alone, waiting for God."

- Chapter 20(a) Book I

On a View of Man's Misery:

"... What a feeble thing is this human nature of ours, always ready to slip down-hill! The sin you commit today is the same sin you mentioned yesterday in confession; an hour has gone by, and those resolutions about avoiding it might just as well not have been made. Haven't we good reason to feel ashamed? Can we ever entertain a good opinion of ourselves, weak and wavering creatures as we are?..."

- Chapter 22 Book I

On Judgment on How Sinners are Punished:

"Nothing so important, nothing so useful, if you want to clear your soul of that debt, as to be a man who can put up with a great deal. Such a man, if he is wronged, is more distressed over the sin committed than over the wrong done him; he is always ready to say a prayer for his enemies, forgives an injury with all his heart, and is quick to ask forgiveness of others, and you will find him more easily moved to pity than to anger...

...Those fires, what is it they will feed on but your sins? The more you spare yourself, and take corrupt nature for your guide, the heavier price you will pay later on, the more fuel you are storing up for those fires. The pattern of man's sins will be the pattern of his punishment; red-hot goads to spur on the idle, cruel hunger and thirst to torment the glutton; see where the dissipated souls, that so loved their own pleasures, are bathed in hot pitch and reeking sulphur, where the envious souls go howling like mad dogs, for very grief!

Each darling sin will find its appropriate reward; for the proud, every kind of humiliation, for the covetous, the pinch of grinding poverty. Spend a hundred years of penance here on earth, it would be no match for one hour of that punishment. Here we have intervals of rest, and our friends can comfort us; there is no respite for the damned, no consolation for the damned.

Take your sins seriously now, be sorry for then now, and at the Day of Judgment you will have confidence, the confidence of blessed souls. How fearlessly, then, the just will confront those persecutors of theirs, who kept them down at all the time! The man who submitted to human judgments so meekly will now take rank as judge; in perfect calm they will stand there, the poor, the humble, while the proud are daunted by every prospect that meets them."

- Chapter 24 Book I

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