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.
- 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.