Dec 17, 2020 filed under Humility.

Woman finding peace

My guest blogger this week is Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380–1471), who wrote The Imitation of Christ—the most popular spiritual book, they say, after the Bible. It was a favorite of St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and my mother.

I have her copy, in which she highlighted her favorite passages. Because it was on the “grownup” bookshelf, it was the first spiritual book I read. A Kempis’ realistic approach to the spiritual life paved the way for me to enter the Catholic Church 20 years later.

So, why read him now? Well, it’s still a classic. And because the emotional aftershock of recent happenings has left many unsettled and anxious. But à Kempis reminds us that if we lose peace, we lose Jesus. And he’s a master at showing how to keep the Prince of Peace first in our hearts.

What’s humility, and what isn’t it?
Before we dive in, there’s one line in what I’ll share with you that needs some ’splaining: the virtue of humility gets a bad name in modern times because it’s misunderstood as weakness or passivity in the face of injustice. Or people think it means putting ourselves down.

Humility is this: trying our best to see ourselves as God sees us, no better and no worse. That is, we’re made for union with God in glory (can we get any more valuable than that?), but in this fallen world we sometimes turn our back on God in ways that steal our peace.

When à Kempis says we need to consider ourselves “the lowest of men,” he just means that the more we realize our dependence on God for all our good (that’s humility, because it’s true, isn’t it?), the more we will live out the glory of God even now. The greatest saint of all proclaimed that God has scattered the proud (those who try to do good things by their own power alone) and lifted up the lowly (those who depend on God and most greatly share in his glory).

Remember that humility is great strength. It means the power of God Almighty is working through us—which gives us loads of the only power worth having. I hope the words of Thomas à Kempis bring you peace as we continue to build up the Kingdom of God on earth through virtuous living in a less-than-perfect world filled with less-than-perfect people—like ourselves. :)

Love always,
Rose

From The Imitation of Christ
Do not care much who is with you and who is against you; but make it your greatest care that God is with you in everything you do. Have a good conscience, and God will defend you securely; no one can hurt you if God wishes to help you.

If you know how to suffer in silence, you will surely receive God’s help. Since he knows best the time and the way to set you free, resign yourself to him, for God helps you and frees you from all confusion. It is often good for us, and helps us to remain humble, if others know our weaknesses and confront us with them.

When a man humbles himself for his faults, he more easily pleases others and mollifies those he has angered.

God protects and frees a humble man; he loves and consoles a humble man; he favors a humble man; he showers him with graces; then, after his suffering, God raises him up to glory.

He reveals his secrets to a humble man and in his kindness invitingly draws that man to himself. When a humble man is brought to confusion, he experiences peace, because he stands firm in God and not in this world. Do not think that you have made any progress unless you feel that you are the lowest of all men.

Above all things, keep peace within yourself, then you will be able to create peace among others. It is better to be peaceful than learned.

The passionate man often thinks evil of a good man and easily believes the worst; a good and peaceful man turns all things to good.

A man who lives at peace suspects no one. But a man who is tense and agitated by evil is troubled with all kinds of suspicions; he is never at peace with himself, nor does he permit others to be at peace. He often speaks when he should be silent, and he fails to say what would be truly useful. He is well aware of the obligations of others but neglects his own.

So be zealous first of all with yourself, and then you will be more justified in expressing zeal for your neighbor.

You are good at excusing and justifying your own deeds, and yet you will not listen to the excuses of others. It would be more just to accuse yourself and excuse your neighbor.

If you wish others to put up with you, first put up with them.

+ + +
This edition includes commentary and a reader’s guide. It’s a go-to classic you can crack open anywhere and be
brought back to your peace in Christ. It’s a book that helped St. Thérèse become a saint!


If you click the image above and buy the book, Virtue Connection may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

23 Responses to “A Way to (Almost) Instant Peace”

  1. Theresa

    Thanks Rose for sharing this beautiful passages. It gave me inspiration. God bless and stay safe

    Reply
  2. Linda Hartzell

    Thank you for reminding me once again of the strength in humility. Such a powerful virtue!
    May the graces you receive during Christmas Eve Mass bring you strength in body, mind, and spirit.

    O come, o come, Emmanuel.
    Linda

    Reply
  3. Tina

    Thank you, Rose. I, too, have this book from a past relative. I read through randomly and always feel it’s speaking directly to me. The passage you selected I needed to see! Have a Merry Christmas!

    Reply
    • Margaret

      Dear Rose,
      Holy and Blessed Christmas!
      What a treasure for everyone that you brought forth the Following of Christ! Many thanks.
      It is a coincidence for me as I am on Chapter 4 of a commentary on each chapterr of The Following: The Foundations of the Spiritual Life by Father Surin, S.J., and I hope to read a chapter each day. It was a favorite of St. Therese. Fr.Surin says the psychologists sustain that we must keep our honor, but it is contrary to the sentiments of the saints.
      Peace and joy to you! Margaret

      Reply
  4. Maria

    Thank you Rose. It’s always good to reflect on what God’s will is for us and to be humble in all things. Have a very blessed Christ Mass with your loved ones. Here is another inspirational word: O Antiphon Prayer:
    O Key of David,
    opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:
    come and free the prisoners of darkness!
    Amen.

    Reply
  5. Elizabeth Nealey

    Dear Rose,
    We do not know each other, however every time I read your entries, I feel God calling to me. Thank you for being a conduit of Graces for me and the world, just like Mary! May God bless you and grant you many Grace’s this Christmas Season.
    Peace in Christ,
    Elizabeth

    Reply
    • Rose Folsom

      So good of you to say so, Elizabeth! GO GOD!! :)
      If you’d like to learn more about my little membership group of Catholic women who get live zoom teaching from me every other Sunday evening, with wonderful discussion and prayer, please let me know. I think you’d be a great fit.
      Merry Christmas!
      ❤️ Rose

      Reply
  6. Diane Upham

    Beautiful!! So many thanks, just when I needed it most!! Rose, your writings peel back and expose the
    ‘Truth’ of the matter so well. I am praying for humility for all people this perfect time of Peace and Goodwill.
    Blessings to you always,
    Diane

    Reply
  7. Rose Folsom

    COMMENTS THAT CAME VIA EMAIL:

    Merry Christmas Rose and to your husband. We have a spot at 7p and 12 midnight (I have to work until 730p on Christmas Eve). God Bless You.
    Cathy P.
    +++
    Blessed Christmas to you & yours
    I am blest to be able to go to Mass Also.
    Thanks for all your hints to stay peaceful & calm.
    God Bless,
    Judi
    +++
    Rose, Have a blessed, joyous and healthy Christmas. Thank you for your words of wisdom and inspiration. God bless you and yours.
    Sister in Christ, Valorie
    +++
    Thank you. Merry Christmas. Blessings
    Annemae
    +++
    And a Merry Christmas to you and your family. We have been able in our Parish to have daily and weekend masses so I attend them every day. And I’ll be attending Midnight Mass here also. Please pray for my family as I won’t be able to go to see them at Christmas.
    Elva

    Reply
  8. Mary Ellen Stroud

    Thank you Rose for your Christmas message. May God bless you abundantly this Christmas.

    Reply
  9. Terry

    Thank you for sharing these words today. I needed them. I bring Eucharist to an ill senior who fears being a burden to her family. I explained her need now for humility. The definition for humility: trying to see ourselves as God sees us really resonated with me. And I will pass them on to her.
    Blessings

    Reply
  10. Pat Friedhoff

    Thank you, Rose, for this Christmas message of peace. I wish you a Blessed Christmas and a happier healthier new year.

    Reply
  11. Tom Roberts

    I’ve read that humility is the willingness to be who you are and to do what you have to do. That has been stated inversely by Rabbi Hillel as “Do not do to others what is hateful to yourself.” It’s an acknowledgement that we are God’s creatures and equally loved by him, negating any justification for gaining advantage at another’s expense. I know of a man who, when encountering the prompt RACE on his driver license application, wrote HUMAN. That’s a good start.

    Reply
  12. Kathy Kakley

    Hi Rose,
    Wishing you and yours, and all those who are on this site, a safe, healthy and holy Christmas and only the very best in the New Year!!

    God Bless!!
    Kathy

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *