Thursday, December 26, 2013

Illustrated Insights from The Imitation of Christ—Internal Consolation

"United Nations Secretary-General"
Of The Imitation of Christ Eugene Peterson wrote in his book invitingly titled Take and Read:  "This is the most widely published and read book on spirituality in our tradition. It is amazing how well its medieval monkishness carries over into the modern world. When Dag Hammarskjöld was killed in an airplane crash in Africa, the books found in his briefcase were the Bible and The Imitation." Dr. Hammarskjöld was a wise and well-respected Swedish humanitarian and economist who became the second Secretary-General of the United Nations. His only book, Vägmärken (Markings), was published posthumously in 1963 and shows The Imitation's influence: "We are not permitted to choose the frame of our destiny. But what we put into it is ours. He who wills adventure will experience it—according to the measure of his courage. He who wills sacrifice will be sacrificed—according to the measure of his purity of heart."

The Imitation of Christ is divided into four parts:
  1. Thoughts Helpful in the Life of the Soul
  2. The Interior Life
  3. Internal Consolation
  4. An Invitation to Holy Communion
It is a brief, timeless book. The third part, Internal Consolation, has 59 chapters but they are short ones.

Part 1. Thoughts Helpful in the Life of the Soul: click here

Part 2. The Interior Life: click here

Part 3. Internal Consolation

 1. The Inward Conversation of Christ with the Faithful Soul
 2. Truth Speaking Inwardly Without the Sound of Words
 3. Listening Humbly to the Words of God—Many Do Not Heed Them
 4. Walking Before God in Humility and Truth
 5. The Wonderful Effect of Divine Love
 6. The Proving of a True Lover
 7. Grace Hidden Under the Mantle of Humility
 8. Self-Abasement in the Sight of God
 9. All Things Should Be Referred to God as Their Last End
10. The Sweetness of Serving God and Not Being Conformed by the World
11. The Longings of Our Hearts Must Be Examined and Moderated
12. Acquiring Patience in the Fight Against Sexual Temptation
13. Humbly Submitting to the Example of Jesus Christ
14. Not Being Proud of One's Own Good Deeds
15. How One Should Feel and Speak on Every Desirable thing
16. Seeking True Comfort in God Alone
17. Placing All Our Care in God
18. Christ-like Patience in Bearing Suffering
19. True Patience in Suffering
20. Confessing Our Weaknesses
21. Resting in God Above All Goods and Gifts
22. Remembering the Innumerable Gifts of God
23. Four Things That Bring Great Peace
24. Avoiding Curious Inquiry About the Lives of Others
25. The Basis of Firm Peace of Heart and True Progress
26. The Excellence of a Free Mind
27. Self-Love Is the Greatest Hindrance to the Highest Good
28. Strength Against Slander
29. How We Must Call Upon and Bless the Lord When Trouble Presses
30. The Quest of Divine Help
31. To Find the Creator, Forsake the Creatures
32. Self-Denial and the Renunciation of Evil Appetites
33. Restlessness of Soul
34. God Is Sweet Above All Things and in All Things
35. No Security from Temptation in This Life
36. The Vain Judgments of Men
37. Pure and Entire Resignation of Self to Obtain Freedom of Heart
38. The Right Ordering of External Affairs
39. Not Being Preoccupied About One's Affairs
40. No Good and No Glory
41. Earthly Honors at Arm's Length
42. Peace Not Placed in Men
43. Vain and Worldly Knowledge
44. Not Being Fixated on Outward Things
45. All Men Are Not to Be Believed, for It Is Easy to Err in Speech
46. Trust in God Against Slander
47. Every Trial Must Be Borne for the Sake of Eternal Life
48. The Day of Eternity and the Distresses of This Life
49. The Desire of Eternal Life
50. How a Desolate Person Ought to Commit Him or Herself to God
51. When We Cannot Attain to the Highest
52. What to Consider Oneself Worthy Of
53. God's Grace Not Given to the Earthly Minded
54. The Different Motions of Nature and Grace
55. The Corruption of Nature and the Efficacy of Divine Grace
56. Denying Ourselves and Imitating Christ
57. Not Being Too Downcast When Falling into Defects
58. High Matters and Hidden Judgments
59. All Hope and Trust Are to Be Fixed in God Alone

Part 4. An Invitation to Holy Communion
To Read, Ponder, and Imitate for Yourself!

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