Imitación de Cristo

Este libro fue escrito hace más de 500 años; varias décadas

antes de que se difundiera la imprenta. Por lo tanto, al principio

se hicieron copias manuescritas, algunas de las cuales se

encuentran en diversas bibliotecas.

La primera edición está fechada en 1473, dos años después de

la muerte del autor, y 19 años antes de la llegada de Colón a

América. En los 25 años siguientes, se hicieron 99 ediciones, y

hasta la actualidad, la Historia del Mundo de Salvat

contabilizaba más de 3000 ediciones. Posiblemente sólo ha sido

superado por la Biblia en cuanto al número de ediciones.

El autor fue un monje alemán llamado Tomás Haemerken,

nacido en 1379 en Kempen, un pueblo del electorado de

Colonia.

Hacia los 18 años ingresó en el monasterio de los Canónigos

Regulares de San Agustín, en la Ciudad de Agnetenberg, que

más tarde, durante la Reforma, fue destruido.

En este monasterio transcurrió la vida de Tomás de Kempis

dedicado a la oración, la meditación, las charlas y consultas

espirituales, y a copiar libros, de cuyo trabajo los monjes

difícilmente se sostenían.

Tomás fue dos veces subprior del monasterio y una vez

ecónomo, cargo en el que fracasó estrepitosamente y del que

tuvieron que relevarlo.

Era un hombre profundamente espiritual y ajeno a los negocios

del mundo, carente de las destrezas que se requerían para

atender a las necesidades materiales de un convento de

reciente fundación.

Sin embargo, otra cosa muy distinta ocurrió con sus escritos

místicos, en especial su obra principal, La imitación de Cristo,

concluída hacia 1418, de la que circularon en vida del autor

varias copias manuscritas y anónimas.

La obra es un tratado de mística que consta de cuatro libritos

escritos por el autor en distintas épocas de su vida.

A la hora de acercarse a estas páginas, es muy conveniente que

el lector tenga en cuenta que fueron escritas en un momento

histórico-religioso determinado y sus destinatarios directos

eran monjes de principios del Siglo XV. Sin embargo, a la La

Imitación de Cristo se ha acercado multitud de cristianos a lo

largo de más de cinco siglos y han sabido encontrar en ella

alimento espiritual.

Book One. Thoughts Helpful in the Life of the Soul

1. Imitating Christ and Despising All Vanities on Earth
2. Having A Humble Opinion of Self
3. The Doctrine of Truth
4. Prudence in Action
5. Reading the Holy Scripture
6. Unbridled Affections
7. Avoiding False Hope and Pride
8. Shunning Over-Familiarity
9. Obedience and Subjection
10. Avoiding Idle Talk
11. Acquiring Peace and Zeal for Perfection
12. The Value of Adversity
13. Resisting Temptation
14. Avoiding Rash Judgment
15. Works Done in Charity
16. Bearing With the Faults of Others
17. Monastic Life
18. The Example Set Us by the Holy Fathers
19. The Practices of a Good Religious
20. The Love of Solitude and Silence
21. Sorrow of Heart
22. Thoughts on the Misery of Man
23. Thoughts on Death
24. Judgment and the Punishment of Sin
25. Zeal in Amending Our Lives

Book Two. The Interior Life

1. Meditation
2. Humility
3. Goodness and Peace in Man
4. Purity of Mind and Unity of Purpose
5. Ourselves
6. The Joy of a Good Conscience
7. Loving Jesus Above All Things
8. The Intimate Friendship of Jesus
9. Wanting No Share in Comfort
10. Appreciating God’s Grace
11. Few Love the Cross of Jesus
12. The Royal Road of the Holy Cross

Book Three. Internal Consolation

1. The Inward Conversation of Christ with the Faithful Soul
2. Truth Speaks Inwardly without the Sound of Words
3. Listen Humbly to the Words of God. Many Do Not Heed Them
4. We Must Walk Before God in Humility and Truth
5. The Wonderful Effect of Divine Love
6. The Proving of a True Lover
7. Grace Must Be 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. To Despise the World and Serve God is Sweet
11 The Longings of Our Hearts Must Be Examined and Moderated
12. Acquiring Patience in the Fight against Concupiscence
13. The Obedience of One Humbly Subject to the Example of Jesus Christ
14. Consider the Hidden Judgments of God Lest You Become Proud of Your Own Good Deeds
15. How One Should Feel and Speak on Every Desirable Thing
16. True Comfort is to be Sought in God Alone
17. All Our Care is to be Placed in God
18. Temporal Sufferings Should be Borne Patiently, After the Example of Christ
19. True Patience in Suffering
20. Confessing Our Weakness in the Miseries of Life
21. Above All Goods and All Gifts We Must Rest in God
22. Remember the Innumerable Gifts of God
23. Four Things Which 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, Gained Through Prayer Rather Than by Study
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 and Confidence in Regaining Grace
31. To Find the Creator, Forsake All Creatures
32. Self-Denial and the Renunciation of Evil Appetites
33. Restlessness of Soul — Directing Our Final Intention Toward God
34. God is Sweet Above All Things and in All Things to Those Who Love Him
35. There is 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; Recourse to God in Dangers
39. A Man Should Not be Unduly Solicitous about his Affairs
40. Man Has No Good in Himself and Can Glory in Nothing
41. Contempt for All Earthly Honor
42. Peace is not to be Placed in Men
43. Beware Vain and Worldly Knowledge
44. Do Not be Concerned About 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; The Great Rewards Promised to Those Who Struggle
50. How a Desolate Person Ought to Commit Himself into the Hands of God
51. When We Cannot Attain to the Highest, We Must Practice the Humble Works
52. A Man Ought Not to Consider Himself Worthy of Consolation, But Rather Deserving of Chastisement
53. God’s Grace Is 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. We Ought to Deny Ourselves and Imitate Christ Through Bearing the Cross
57. A Man Should Not Be Too Downcast When He Falls Into Defects
58. High Matters and the Hidden Judgments of God Are Not To Be Scrutinized
59. All Hope and Trust Are To Be Fixed in God Alone

Book Four. An Invitation to the Holy Communion

1. The Great Reverence With Which We Should Receive Christ
2. God’s Great Goodness and Love is Shown to Man in This Sacrament
3. It Is Profitable To Receive Communion Often
4. Many Blessings Are Given Those Who Receive Communion Worthily
5. The Dignity of the Sacrament and of the Priesthood
6. An Inquiry on the Proper Thing to do Before Communion
7. The Examination of Conscience and the Resolution to Amend
8. The Offering of Christ on the Cross; Our Offering
9. We Should Offer Ourselves and All That We Have to God, Praying for All
10. Do Not Lightly Forego Holy Communion
11. The Body of Christ and Sacred Scripture Are Most Necessary to a Faithful Soul
12. The Communicant Should Prepare Himself for Christ with Great Care
13. With All Her Heart the Devout Soul Should Desire Union with Christ in the Sacrament
14. The Ardent Longing of Devout Men for the Body of Christ
15. The Grace of Devotion is Acquired Through Humility and Self-Denial
16. We Should Show Our Needs to Christ and Ask His Grace
17. The Burning Love and Strong Desire to Receive Christ
18. Man Should Not Scrutinize This Sacrament in Curiosity, But Humbly Imitate Christ and Submit Reason to Holy Faith


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