[book rec] The Imitation of Christ by Thomas Kempis

October 30, 2016

One of the thirteen virtues Ben Franklin wanted to develop was Humility, which was to be gotten by imitating Socrates and Jesus.

Somehow or another, I got myself a copy of Imitation of Christ three years ago, but only recently was I willing to read it.

The book is the real deal.
It has that warm, cozy, comfortable, and familiar feeling for the spirit to sink into.

The feeling is similar to sinking into your comfy couch with a cup of coffee and favorite tunes playing, dim mood lighting. Your fluffy loyal happy dog comes near to be petted. No worries in the world at that moment.

Thomas Kempis was a Dutch dude, born in 1380.
I had no idea that his Imitation of Christ is the second most popular Christian devotional book, ranking second only to the Bible. And apart from the Bible, no other book has been translated to more languages. So this must be a big deal then, to be this popular and stand the test of time.

It’s not a book you read all at once, or one you read one time and forget. It’s one of those books that has the powerful essence, like The Bhagavad Gita or Dhammapada, you can keep referring to it over and over.

If you’re into the spiritual life (and I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t be), this is a must. It’s a manual on the inner life.

Here are some appetizers to get you started:
“First keep the peace within yourself, then you can also bring peace to others.”

“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.”

“Who has a harder fight than he who is striving to overcome himself.”

“Never be entirely idle; but either be reading, or writing, or praying or meditating or endeavoring something for the public good.”

“The loftier the building, the deeper must the foundation be laid.”

The Imitation of Christ – free web version
The Imitation of Christ – amzn