Posted December 3, 2010
Book: Solace in Suffering
Wisdom from Thomas a Kempis
Pauline Books and Media, Boston, Massachusetts. 2010. Pp. 97
An Excerpt from the Jacket:
Where can we turn for strength and consolation? In the Imitation of Christ, one of the greatest spiritual books of all time. Thomas a Kempis teaches us how to relate our pain and hardships to those experienced by Jesus. Suffering has value when we bear it with Christ, who accompanies us. As we embrace the mystery of suffering in our life, we find peace and blessing.
An Excerpt from the Book:
On the Good and Peaceable Person
First keep yourself in peace, then you will be able to bring others to peace. The peaceable person does more good than one who is highly educated. The overly passionate person turns even good to evil, and readily believes evil. The good and peaceable person turns all things to good. Whoever is in perfect peace suspects no one. But whoever is discontented and disturbed is agitated by various suspicions, and neither has rest, nor permits others to rest. Often such a person says what should not be said and does not do what should be done. While considering what others ought to do, do not neglect what you yourself are bound to do. It is better to have zeal toward yourself in the first place, and then you may justly exercise zeal toward your neighbor.
You know well how to excuse and gloss over your own deeds, but you will not accept the excuses of others. It is more just for you to accuse yourself and to excuse another. If you wish others to put up with you, then know how to put up with them. See how far you still are from true charity and humility, which does not know how to feel anger or indignation against anyone but oneself. It is easy to converse with the good and the gentle, for this comes naturally to all. And all persons prefer to live in peace with those who agree with them and love them the best. But to know how to live peacefully with those who are stubborn and difficult, or undisciplined and opposed to us, is a great grace. It is worthy of much praise and is a sign of strength.
Some people know how to live in peace and also enjoy peace with others. Others not only have no peace themselves, but the also do not allow others to enjoy peace. Such persons are troublesome to others, but still more troublesome to themselves. Still others keep themselves in peace and work to restore peace to others. Nevertheless all our peace in this burdensome life, must be placed more in humble suffering than in not feeling the things that go against our nature. Those who know how to suffer will enjoy much peace and conquer themselves. They will be the lords of the world, friends of Christ, and heirs of heaven.
Table of Contents:
Sample of topics:
On usefulness of adversity
On our own weaknesses and the miseries of this life
There is no security from temptation in this life
The grace of devotion acquired by humility and self-denial