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Author Topic: The Imitation of Christ  (Read 2199 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: August 13, 2011, 03:39:33 PM »

Well, I went to Barnes and Noble today. I couldn't find "the Ladder" and I didn't want to leave the store empty-handed, so I got the "The Imitation of Christ". I heard many great things about this book. For those of you who have read it, what did you think of it?
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« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2011, 04:02:05 PM »

Well, I went to Barnes and Noble today. I couldn't find "the Ladder" and I didn't want to leave the store empty-handed, so I got the "The Imitation of Christ". I heard many great things about this book. For those of you who have read it, what did you think of it?

I have a copy of The Imitation of Christ with a running index of the scriptural references in the text.  It is a wonderful presentation and I used it regularly for many years.  I should add that it is a wonderful practical set of applications for entering the mystical life.  Using the scriptural references is a kind of lectio in itself.

Thomas a Kempis is a contemporary of the Flemish mystic, John of Ruysbroeck.

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« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2011, 04:39:29 PM »

It was recommended to me by an old priest (not old by age, but a priest I confessed to before the present one) upon entering service.  I'm embarrassed to say I haven't finished it, but it is an excellent spiritual book so far as I have read.
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2011, 04:55:57 PM »

Make sure it's the Ronald Knox translation
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2011, 10:41:45 PM »

Well, I went to Barnes and Noble today. I couldn't find "the Ladder" and I didn't want to leave the store empty-handed, so I got the "The Imitation of Christ". I heard many great things about this book. For those of you who have read it, what did you think of it?

This was the second most printed and read book in WEstern Europe, second only to the Bible.  I've been told that for Orthodox, its use as a spiritual tool is suspect.  I can't seem to get an answer why as I've really not been too interested in reading it myself (though I do have an old copy somewhere). Once I find something out, I'll let you know.
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2011, 10:47:37 PM »

Well, I went to Barnes and Noble today. I couldn't find "the Ladder" and I didn't want to leave the store empty-handed, so I got the "The Imitation of Christ". I heard many great things about this book. For those of you who have read it, what did you think of it?

This was the second most printed and read book in WEstern Europe, second only to the Bible.  I've been told that for Orthodox, its use as a spiritual tool is suspect.  I can't seem to get an answer why as I've really not been too interested in reading it myself (though I do have an old copy somewhere). Once I find something out, I'll let you know.
Please do tell me if you find something out. So far, I am really enjoying it and I am feel as if I am spiritually benefitting from it immediately.
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2011, 11:28:18 PM »

I would avoid the book at all costs. Hidden amongst the seeming words of "wisdom", lies the spirit of pride and prelest.

Check out these two links :

Spiritual Deception
St. Ignatius Brianchaninov's thoughts on the matter
(from Fr. Seraphim of Platina's book Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future) -

http://www.orthodoxphotos.com/readings/sign/deception.shtml

The Delusions of Catholic Mystics -

http://www.scribd.com/doc/44945061/The-Delusions-of-Catholic-Mystics
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« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2011, 11:29:20 PM »

Ionnis I'm going to need you to explain more of your discontent with the book, it's practically the biggest selling Christian spiritual book.
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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2011, 11:37:59 PM »

I would avoid the book at all costs. Hidden amongst the seeming words of "wisdom", lies the spirit of pride and prelest.

Check out these two links :

Spiritual Deception
St. Ignatius Brianchaninov's thoughts on the matter
(from Fr. Seraphim of Platina's book Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future) -

http://www.orthodoxphotos.com/readings/sign/deception.shtml

The Delusions of Catholic Mystics -

http://www.scribd.com/doc/44945061/The-Delusions-of-Catholic-Mystics
Maybe this isn't the best place to bring it up, but... Ioannes, you have made it quite clear in the past that you don't believe that the OO are Orthodox (which is fine, I respect your opinion). But, with that being said, wouldn't you view my own Church's "mystics" as "delusional"?
« Last Edit: August 13, 2011, 11:42:24 PM by Severian » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2011, 12:41:53 AM »

Ionnis I'm going to need you to explain more of your discontent with the book, it's practically the biggest selling Christian spiritual book.
And what a loss it is. I think every non-Orthodox book requires extremely close examination before we should acknowledge its "insight".

The book effectively builds up spiritual pride while claiming to encourage humility. It seeks to bring one into advanced spiritual states without the necessary asceticism (whereas this is central to Orthodox works such as The Ladder of Divine Ascent). In short, it is rooted in post-schism western spirituality (which later became focused on feelings and spiritual experience). As Orthodox Christians, we should not seek ecstasy, rather, we should strive for repentance. Pursual of divine experience is a gateway to deception.
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« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2011, 12:45:16 AM »

I would avoid the book at all costs. Hidden amongst the seeming words of "wisdom", lies the spirit of pride and prelest.

Check out these two links :

Spiritual Deception
St. Ignatius Brianchaninov's thoughts on the matter
(from Fr. Seraphim of Platina's book Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future) -

http://www.orthodoxphotos.com/readings/sign/deception.shtml

The Delusions of Catholic Mystics -

http://www.scribd.com/doc/44945061/The-Delusions-of-Catholic-Mystics
Maybe this isn't the best place to bring it up, but... Ioannes, you have made it quite clear in the past that you don't believe that the OO are Orthodox (which is fine, I respect your opinion). But, with that being said, wouldn't you view my own Church's "mystics" as "delusional"?
That is true, but we have much more in common than you do with the Latins. Consequently, I believe we share similar concerns regarding the spiritual "developments" in the west.
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« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2011, 12:46:04 AM »

Ionnis I'm going to need you to explain more of your discontent with the book, it's practically the biggest selling Christian spiritual book.
And what a loss it is. I think every non-Orthodox book requires extremely close examination before we should acknowledge its "insight".

The book effectively builds up spiritual pride while claiming to encourage humility. It seeks to bring one into advanced spiritual states without the necessary asceticism (whereas this is central to Orthodox works such as The Ladder of Divine Ascent). In short, it is rooted in post-schism western spirituality (which later became focused on feelings and spiritual experience). As Orthodox Christians, we should not seek ecstasy, rather, we should strive for repentance. Pursual of divine experience is only a gateway to deception.
That could actually be a good point. But have you actually read the book in order to come to the conclusion that it truly does lead one into spiritual deception?
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« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2011, 12:50:19 AM »

That is true, but we have much more in common than you do with the Latins. Consequently, I believe we share similar concerns regarding the spiritual "developments" in the west.
I agree, but, to make sure I understand you, do you believe that OO "mystics" are "delusional"?
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« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2011, 01:08:27 AM »

Ionnis I'm going to need you to explain more of your discontent with the book, it's practically the biggest selling Christian spiritual book.
And what a loss it is. I think every non-Orthodox book requires extremely close examination before we should acknowledge its "insight".

The book effectively builds up spiritual pride while claiming to encourage humility. It seeks to bring one into advanced spiritual states without the necessary asceticism (whereas this is central to Orthodox works such as The Ladder of Divine Ascent). In short, it is rooted in post-schism western spirituality (which later became focused on feelings and spiritual experience). As Orthodox Christians, we should not seek ecstasy, rather, we should strive for repentance. Pursual of divine experience is only a gateway to deception.
That could actually be a good point. But have you actually read the book in order to come to the conclusion that it truly does lead one into spiritual deception?
I never experienced such deception first hand, if that is what you are asking. I read portions of the text while attending a Roman Catholic seminary, but I never thought too much of it. It wasn't until I read authentic Orthodox spirituality (and how it contrasts with later western writings) that the errors within became manifest.

Why read it at all though? There may be fruit hidden amongst the writings of the heterodox, but there are multitudes of Orthodox writings on the subject of humility and theosis.
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« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2011, 01:27:51 AM »

That is true, but we have much more in common than you do with the Latins. Consequently, I believe we share similar concerns regarding the spiritual "developments" in the west.
I agree, but, to make sure I understand you, do you believe that OO "mystics" are "delusional"?
Yes, but not necessarily.

A detailed response on my part would likely derail the thread, so feel free to PM me if you want a more concise answer.
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« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2011, 01:36:43 AM »

IMO you should stick with a truly Orthodox text, like Unseen Warfare.  Wink
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« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2011, 01:40:28 AM »

IMO you should stick with a truly Orthodox text, like Unseen Warfare.  Wink
Which was purified of its errors, unlike the Imitation of Christ.
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« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2011, 01:43:27 AM »

IMO you should stick with a truly Orthodox text, like Unseen Warfare.  Wink
Which was purified of its errors, unlike the Imitation of Christ.

Nah, you gotta go with the original version, not some censored version.
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« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2011, 01:53:49 AM »

IMO you should stick with a truly Orthodox text, like Unseen Warfare.  Wink
Which was purified of its errors, unlike the Imitation of Christ.

Nah, you gotta go with the original version, not some censored version.

Rated M for Orthodox Maturity...priestly discretion is advised
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« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2011, 01:56:17 AM »

Rated M for Orthodox Maturity...priestly discretion is advised

 Cheesy Before I saw that you had made that post I made this postWink
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« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2011, 09:35:15 AM »

Why read it at all though? There may be fruit hidden amongst the writings of the heterodox, but there are multitudes of Orthodox writings on the subject of humility and theosis.

By that logic, you should never read anything on the Internet either - particularly not at this forum, where the heterodox roam free.   Grin
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« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2011, 01:44:22 PM »

Ionnis I'm going to need you to explain more of your discontent with the book, it's practically the biggest selling Christian spiritual book.
And what a loss it is. I think every non-Orthodox book requires extremely close examination before we should acknowledge its "insight".

The book effectively builds up spiritual pride while claiming to encourage humility. It seeks to bring one into advanced spiritual states without the necessary asceticism (whereas this is central to Orthodox works such as The Ladder of Divine Ascent). In short, it is rooted in post-schism western spirituality (which later became focused on feelings and spiritual experience). As Orthodox Christians, we should not seek ecstasy, rather, we should strive for repentance. Pursual of divine experience is a gateway to deception.

So poo-poo to the holy fathers who exhorted: "Become Fire!!"

 Grin

The idea that the west seeks ecstasy without prayer, sacrifice and alms giving, poverty, chastity and obedience come from the vastly ignorant who live both outside and inside the tradition.

That's a fact...and is demonstrable by the exceptional list of virtually unknown works from the west.

As I said earlier Thomas a Kempis was a follower of the Flemish mystic, John of Ruysbroeck who led an exceptionally ascetic life.  So that in the Life of Christ, asceticism is presumed as part of the mystical life, or life of holiness, or life of sanctity: whatever you want to call it.

The west's spirituality, a great portion of it that stems from the Benedictine tradition influenced by John Cassian, comes directly out of the writings of Evagrios the Solitary.  John Cassian is known as the Evagrios of the west.  The mendicant orders are inherently ascetic and apophatic.

Just as in Orthodoxy there are some who fast strictly and religiously and others who may do less: one does NOT compare one's practice for the purpose of getting one-up on one's neighbor.  The principles are there to guide the practice and God places his graces FREELY where He chooses.

I get pretty sick of ignorance passing as gnosis among the Orthodox who don't know a footin' thing about the spirituality of the Catholic west...at least not much of what's true and real and lives through till today.

Read the Imitation of Christ and God bless!!

And if you think Orthodoxy has it all sewn up: Go to "Lite" and Life publishing and see what is there for the regular folk in the pew who do the best they can to keep in mind the principles even if the practice slips more often than not.  Not all those books are spiritual masterpieces.

Get over your convertitis because it is most unbecoming a member of the Body of Christ.

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« Reply #22 on: August 15, 2011, 09:25:51 PM »

Really though, I am immensely enjoying this book. But, it's more of a book that you should read slowly rather than reading it all at once, so as to meditate on the wisdom contained therein. The chapters are usually only a page or two long so it's perfect to incorporate into a morning and evening prayer rule.

God bless.
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« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2011, 10:26:42 PM »

Really though, I am immensely enjoying this book. But, it's more of a book that you should read slowly rather than reading it all at once, so as to meditate on the wisdom contained therein. The chapters are usually only a page or two long so it's perfect to incorporate into a morning and evening prayer rule.

God bless.

Glad to hear it.  Does your copy index the Scripture references in each section?
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« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2011, 11:25:02 PM »

Really though, I am immensely enjoying this book. But, it's more of a book that you should read slowly rather than reading it all at once, so as to meditate on the wisdom contained therein. The chapters are usually only a page or two long so it's perfect to incorporate into a morning and evening prayer rule.

God bless.

Glad to hear it.  Does your copy index the Scripture references in each section?
Yes.
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« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2011, 11:28:12 PM »

I just wanted to add that my priest told me that my grandfather would have wanted me to read it as well.  Apparently, my grandfather seems to have recommended the book to my priest in his youth.
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« Reply #26 on: August 02, 2012, 11:03:04 AM »

Thread Resurrection!

Since this is a trademarked Severian bump, I want to know if you have read the book since the time you made this thread.
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« Reply #27 on: August 02, 2012, 11:14:35 AM »

^I sent Achronos a PM. Just a note, I may have expressed views here which I no longer endorse. I still think it is a useful book, my Priest likes it, but it is certainly important to read Orthodox works primarily.
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« Reply #28 on: August 02, 2012, 11:52:58 AM »

Really though, I am immensely enjoying this book. But, it's more of a book that you should read slowly rather than reading it all at once, so as to meditate on the wisdom contained therein. The chapters are usually only a page or two long so it's perfect to incorporate into a morning and evening prayer rule.

God bless.


I think that each day, you apply what you read on the chapter. Or do this on a week ; with the time, it will become "natural" ...
I never tried it, but when I read the book, this idea struck.
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