Imitation of Christ, Book III, Chapter 56

We Ought to Deny Ourselves, and Imitate Christ by the Cross


SON, as much as you can go out of yourself, so much will you be able to enter into Me.

As desiring nothing abroad brings peace at home, so relinquishing yourself joins you interiorly to God.

I will have you learn the perfect renunciation of yourself, according to My will, without contradiction or complaint.

Follow Me: I am the way, the truth, and the life. Without the way there is no going; without the truth there is no knowing; without the life there is no living.

I am the way which you must follow; the truth which you must believe; the life for which you must hope.

I am the way inviolable, the truth infallible, and the life interminable.

I am the straightest way, the sovereign truth, the true life, the blessed life, and uncreated life.

If you continue in My way, you shall know the truth, and the truth shall deliver you, and you shall attain to life everlasting.

2. If you will enter into life, keep the Commandments.

If you will know the truth, believe Me.

If you will be perfect, sell all things.

If you will be My disciple, deny yourself.

If you will possess a blessed life, despise this present life.

If you will be exalted in Heaven, humble yourself in this world.

If you will reign with Me, bear the cross with Me.

For none but the servants of the cross find the way of bliss and true light.


3. Lord Jesus, forasmuch as Your way is narrow, and despised by the world, grant that I may follow You, and be despised by the world.

For the servant is not greater than his lord, neither is the disciple above his master.

Let Your servant meditate on Your life, for there is my salvation and true holiness.

Whatever I read or hear besides does not recreate nor fully delight me.


4. Son, now you know these things and have read them all, happy shall you be if you fulfill them.

“He that has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me; and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him,” and “I will make him sit with me in the kingdom of my Father.”


5. Lord Jesus, as You have said and have promised, so may it be indeed, and may it be my lot to merit it.

I have received the cross, I have received it from Your hand; I will bear it, yes, I will bear it until death, as You have laid it upon me.

Indeed the life of a good religious man is a cross, but it is a cross that conducts him to Paradise.

We have now begun, it is not lawful to go back, nor may we leave off.

6. Take courage, my brethren, let us go forward together, Jesus will be with us.

For the sake of Jesus we took up His cross; for the sake of Jesus let us persevere on the cross.

He will be our helper, who is our captain and our leader.

Behold our King marches before us, who will fight for us.

Let us follow Him manfully; let no one shrink through fear; let us be ready to die valiantly in battle, and not stain our glory by flying from the standard of the cross.

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