Imitation of Christ, Book I, Chapter 25, 6-11

Fervent Amendment of our Life

6. Be mindful of the resolution you have taken, and set before you the image of the crucifix.

Well may you be ashamed if you have looked upon the life of Jesus Christ, that you have not yet studied to conform yourself more to His pattern, although you have been long in the way of God.

A religious man, who exercises himself seriously and devoutly in the most holy life and Passion of Our Lord, shall find there abundantly all things profitable and necessary for him; nor need he seek any better model than that of Jesus.

Oh, if our crucified Jesus did but come into our heart, how quickly and sufficiently learned should we be!

7. A fervent religious man bears and takes all things well that are commanded him.

A negligent and lukewarm religious man has trouble upon trouble, and on every side suffers anguish, because he has no comfort within and is hindered from seeking any without.

A religious man that lives not in discipline lies open to dreadful ruin.

He that seeks to be more loose and remiss will always be uneasy, for one thing or other will always displease him.

8. How do so many other religious do who live under strict monastic discipline?

They seldom go abroad, they live very retired, their diet is very poor, their habit coarse, they labor much, they speak little, they watch long, they rise early, they spend much time in prayer, they read often and keep themselves in all discipline.

Consider the Carthusians, the Cistercians, and the monks and nuns of divers Orders, how every night they rise to sing psalms to the Lord.

It would, therefore, be a shame for you to be sluggish at so holy a time, when such multitudes of religious begin with joy to give praise to God.

9. Oh, that we had nothing else to do but to praise the Lord our God with our whole heart and mouth!

Oh, that you didst never want to eat, nor drink, nor sleep, but could always praise God and be employed solely in spiritual exercises!

You wouldst then be much more happy than now while you are under the necessity of serving the flesh.

Would there were no such necessities, but only the spiritual refreshments of the soul, which, alas, we taste too seldom.

10. When a man is come to this, that he seeks comfort from nothing created, then he begins perfectly to relish God; then likewise will he be well content, however matters happen to him.

Then will he neither rejoice for much, nor be sorrowful for little, but will commit himself wholly and confidently to God, who is to him all in all; to whom nothing perishes or dies, but all things live to Him and serve Him at a nod without delay.

11. Always remember your end and that time once lost never returns. Without care and diligence you shall never acquire virtues.

If you begin to grow lukewarm you will begin to be uneasy.

But if you give yourself to fervor you shall find great peace, and the grace of God and love of virtue will make you feel less labor.

A fervent and diligent man is ready for all things.

It is a greater task to resist vices and passions than to toil at bodily labors.

He that does not shun small defects by little and little falls into greater. (Ecclus 19:1)

You shall always rejoice in the evening if you spend the day profitably.

Watch over yourself, stir yourself up, admonish yourself, and whatever becomes of others neglect not yourself.

The greater violence you offer to yourself the greater progress you shall make.

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