Saturday, February 25, 2012
I was reading along in The Imitation of Christ, thinking, “Boy, this is just not speaking to me. It seems like so much pious prattle.” The very next thing I read was this:
“At times you will be forsaken by God, at times troubled by those about you and, what is worse, you will often grow weary of yourself. You cannot escape, you cannot be relieved by any remedy or comfort but must bear with it as long as God wills. For He wishes you to learn to bear trial without consolation, to submit yourself wholly to Him that you may become more humble through suffering. No one understands the passion of Christ so thoroughly or heartily as the man whose lot it is to suffer the like himself.” (Book 2 Chapter 12, THE ROYAL ROAD OF THE HOLY CROSS)
Further on in the same chapter he says, “The cross, therefore, is always ready; it awaits you everywhere. No matter where you may go, you cannot escape it, for wherever you go you take yourself with you and shall always find yourself. Turn where you will -- above, below, without, or within -- you will find a cross in everything, and everywhere you must have patience if you would have peace within and merit an eternal crown.”
How does he do this? How does he know me so well? A few days earlier, I was reading along, my mind wandering, when this jumped out at me:
“The devil does not sleep, nor is the flesh yet dead; therefore, you must never cease your preparation for battle, because on the right and on the left are enemies who never rest.” ((Book 2 Chapter 9, WANTING NO SHARE IN COMFORT).
If you are looking for some Lenten reading, try a chapter a day. Sometimes the chapter seem like a collection of brief sayings, sometimes they are extended reflections on a theme. Most are short, a page or two, and they are aimed at common folk like us. You don’t need to be a monk or a scholar to profit from this. There is a reason this is the second best-selling book of all time, after the Bible! You can find an online version here.