The podcast (14 minutes) is from Book 2, Chapter 11 ("On Taking Up Jesus' Cross"), of The Imitation of Christ.

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The world of the 1420s is radically different from our modern world!
  • Europe is still recovering from the Black Death (1347-1349), which took the lives of easily a third of all Europeans.
  • It is still too early for the Reformation (1517+). For example, Jan Hus tried to reform the church, but was executed (1415).
  • The Chinese fleet is exploring the Indian Ocean and firming up trade agreements with Africans, Arabs, and other peoples.
  • The Old World and the New World are still not connected. The "Columbian exchange" is still over 70 years away.
  • Further, it's still centuries before the industrial revolution.

And yet the words of à Kempis are still on target!

  • Human nature hasn't changed, nor has the struggle between flesh and spirit.
  • Perhaps because he worked so faithfully, copying manuscripts and striving to help others. He understood people, and accepted God's diagnosis of the human condition.
  • We humans still tend to be self-focused. We have difficulty aligning our will with God's will.
  • Many tend to be attracted to Christianity for mercenary reasons. 
  • With this in mind, today's meditation is both challenging and relevant.

Verses cited or alluded to:
Matt 16:24; 10:22
Prov 31:10
2 Tim 3:2
1 Cor 13:2
Luke 10:42; 17:10
Ps 25:16 (also Sirach 6:10)

Personal application:

  • Would I keep the faith if those who led me to the Lord gave up theirs?
  • Am I in any way a "mercenary"?
  • If I make my living from the gospel, do I tone down the message or show favoritism, in order to keep my job, or in order not to offend?
  • If God withdrew his blessings from my life (think Job 1-2), would I still make the effort to imitate Christ?

We will continue these thoughts tomorrow with "The Royal Way of the Cross."

Cool à Kempis quotes:

  • If you gave more frequent thought to your death than to a long life, you would unquestionably be more eager to amend your life.
  • It is better for you to live privately and take care of yourself than it is to neglect your soul even though you could work wonders in the world.
  • Also, check out the à Kempis tweets.