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The Imitation of Christ Conclusion; Next Book Club Pick

March 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Book Club, Vicki Burbach

The Imitation of Christ Conclusion

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So we’ve reached the end of one of the most-read devotional books of all-time. Has it changed your life?

It’s certainly had an impact here.

good portion picture1Before we began reading, I was very much intrigued by The Imitation, knowing that this book has borne much fruit – a resource for many a struggling sinner like myself; but one that has helped guide those sinners to sanctity. For many saints, The Imitation was a resource for daily devotion. Surely if it worked for them…

Now that we’ve finished reading, I’m a little surprised by what I learned. My greatest takeaway from The Imitation is rather shocking in its simplicity: I’ve realized that I mistakenly spend a lot of time comparing myself to others who have gone before me, whether they be friends, family members or saints.

Of course I must pay attention to tangible examples of virtue that I see in my every day life. And I should have special devotions to saints who may have struggled as I struggle. But my ultimate goal should not be to imitate Saint Thérèse, or Saint Monica, or Saint Thomas Moore.

My ultimate goal is The Imitation of Christ.

Discussion Question: What did you think of The Imitation? There were so many topics addressed in the book that I cannot possibly mention them all. Please comment on the those that were most helpful/interesting/confusing to you.

Our Next Book: Navigating the Interior Life by Dan Burke

Hopefully, most of you have obtained your copy of Navigating the Interior Life by now, or are expecting it’s arrival shortly. We’ll begin reading in two weeks, on March 12.

With this book, we are privileged to have an “in” with the author, who has promised to make himself available for three webinars through the course of our reading! In addition, we are blessed to have Fr. Vince Huber* join us to answer questions on the spiritual life.

We invite you to embark on this new journey with us.  Navigating the Interior Life is full of practical information on spiritual direction, and has been nominated for Best Catholic Book of 2012. Below you'll find our reading schedule. If you’d like to join us for a webinar, please sign up as soon as possible using the links below. There are only 200 slots available, and over 1,000 people have expressed an interest in attending.

Reading and Webinar Schedule

Week 1 – 3/12  p. 1-22

Week 2 – 3/19  p. 23-52

Webinar Discussion 3/23 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM Central   

Week 3 – 3/26  p. 53-84

Week 4 – 4/02  p. 53-84

Week 5 – 4/09  p. 115-122; 137-154

Webinar Discussion 4/13 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM Central   

Week 6 wrap-up 4/16

Webinar Discussion 4/20 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM Central  

*Fr. Vince Huber with the Apostles of the Interior Life is from Kansas City, and attended the University of Kansas where he studied Civil Engineering, and began to discern his vocation through involvement at the Newman Center. He met the Apostles when they opened a house in 2003, got to know them and felt a call to enter the male branch. He graduated in 2004 and two weeks later left for Rome to begin his formation. He was ordained a priest, together with 3 of his brothers, on June 18, 2011. He and his brothers were the first four priests ordained in the community, after their founder, Fr. Salvatore, who is a priest of the diocese of Rome. The Apostles of the Interior Life have a house in Rome, which is also the house of formation. In the fall of 2013, they will be opening a second house in the diocese of Kansas City in Kansas, where the community was recognized as a Public Association of the Faithful by Archbishop Naumann.

NOTE:  Please pray for Holy Mother Church at this time.  If you haven't seen it already, check out Becky Ward's post YOUR CONCLAVE with resources and information that will help you take simple, but much needed, action as we await the election of our next pope.  

Discussion Question:

1.  Open discussion: Feel free to comment on any topic from The Imitation of Christ, or on the book as a whole.

Reading Assignment:

NONE.  Next week we'll have a special post on the upcoming reading list. The first assignment for our new book will be posted on March 12.

Read more: Previous Book Club Posts

Click Here For More Information on the Book Club

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About Vicki Burbach

Vicki Burbach is a wife and homeschooling mother of six children ages four to sixteen years who relishes the calm inspiration of spiritual reading amidst the roller coaster of life. A passionate convert to the Faith, Vicki is an avid reader who started the SpiritualDirection.com book club so she could embark with like-minded bibliophiles on a spiritual journey through some of the greatest Catholic books ever written. She is author of the new book How to Read Your Way to Heaven - A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between. You can also find her at pelicansbreast.com

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  • rjk123

    The Imitation of Christ was powerful–and surprisingly so. I had tried to read it earlier in my life but it brought such anxiety–probably from my sinfulness. Your final comment hit with profound, stunning clarity. Yes! –our goal is not the imitation of others but —  the imitation of Christ. Wow! It just stood out! Thank you, Vicki, for doing an excellent job leading. I am looking forward to reading Dan’s book with all our online friends. Rachel

    • rjk123

      Not that I’m not still sinful!! of course!! But Thank God for His great mercy and that He is contantly growing and changing us/me. Maybe now I’m able with the grace of God to more obediently and humbly see my sins and seek forgiveness. My former anxiety came from a fear and refusal to acknowledge my own sinfulness. And as I grow, the Lord will show me sins I’m not capable of seeing now. Thank God for His mercy!

  • Robert Kraus

    I was moved by the simplicity and power of Imitation. A lot of older spiritual reading is difficult for me to grasp or way too spiritually above my head. I have to say that Imitation was a refreshing surprise. It’s borne much fruit.

  • carl641

    several things stuck with me. One was the need to renounce the world. Since I live in the world the mechanics of that have given me pause. Obviously, it has to do with attachment to the things of this world, and the ability to wear all of those things loosely. It’s a goal for prayer. 

    Another thing that stood out to me was not comparing oneself to others. His observations about what others think and say of you in the final analysis being of little use resonated. As he says, paraphrasing here, ‘whatever people say of you, good or bad, in the end you’re the same person in the same relationship with the Lord.’ That’s helpful because positive speak from others can lead to pride and vainglory and negative speak can lead to shame, blame and anger. None of that’s helpful. Also, as you point out Vicki, it leads to comparing ourselves to others which isn’t helpful. I’m not suggesting I understood him to say that a person should ignore or isolate oneself from other people or not listen to what they say. I’m saying, one needs to keep things in perspective and realize that at the end of the day, regardless of what is said about you, your relationship with the Lord isn’t changed. That relationship is based on the things you do or don’t do, the state of your heart, and your relationships with others; not what people say or think about you or how you think your spiritual state compares to others. 
    Humility as the bedrock of the walk stood out.

    Its a wonderful book with great insight and wonderful prose. The comments of others as we read through it were great also.

  • Scott Kallal

    I agree with much of what has been said. What stood out to me was a Kempis’ (almost) maniacal focus on God and his utter insistence on forgetting about everything else. It’s clear to me that this teaching would eventually pave the way for Ignatius’ “principle & foundation”: our goal is union with God and everything else is either a means or a hindrance to that union. It could also be seen as a pre-cursor to John of the Cross’s spiritual nakedness or “nada” principle: Leave everything else behind to seek union with God alone through the theological virtues of: faith, hope, and love…

    God bless,

    Fr. Scott, AVI
    Apostles of the Interior Life

    P.S. I’m looking forward to this chance to re-read Dan’s book. It was enlightening the first time for me to consider my root sin. I’m excited to see what comes from this second, more thorough reading…

  • Oh good! Most of the webinars will be during my summer break. 😀 Looking forward to it!

  • +J.M.J.+
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Imitation, and have come to the conclusion that Thomas A Kempis was a genius.  😉  It was very helpful in that it changed my perspective on things such as daily chores, small crosses, and large crosses.  It also provided much food for thought throughout the day.

    One topic I especially enjoyed reading was this past week’s assignment on the Holy Eucharist.  Mr. Kempis did a wonderful job at placing everything with respect to the Blessed Sacrament, and it was quite refreshing to read the section entitled:  “That the Great Goodness of God Is Given to Man in the Blessed Sacrament.”

  • LizEst

    Thanks, Vicki, for the push to read this. It was my second time through…separated by many years. With this second reading, it has been a blessing to learn how fruitful that first reading was for my soul. What was remembered was reinforced. What had been forgotten has become the subject of renewal for me. God bless you, Vicki.

    Looking forward to a more in-depth reading of Dan’s book!

    • Vicki

      If you’ve already read Dan’s book, I look forward to your insight.  This will be my first time through, and I’m very excited. 

      • LizEst

        Yes, I’ve certainly read it. Go to page xviii. There you will see a list of some familiar names who should also be able to provide us some excellent insights of their own.

  • talby

    Thank you Vicki for leading a great discussion these past weeks. I enjoyed the group and the sharing. This book is definitely a blessing and I probably will not be putting it away…this will be part of my devotional readings that I will turn to on a regular basis… I have flagged many pages and many prayers that I know will help me as I strive for deeper spiritual growth!

    I’m glad I discovered this website and I hope to join on the discussion for the next book Navigating the Interior Life. 

    God Bless,
    Terrie

    • Vicki

      Terrie,
      We’re glad you discovered us too – and we look forward to your participation in the next discussion!  God bless!

  • BeckitaMaria

    Thank you, Vicki, for leading the way as we have shared insights and experiences while reading this book. I’m also grateful to everyone who shared!
     
    By the way, I missed recounting my hugs from the Lord last week so let me just say you’ve been a definite hug from above, Vicki. God bless you and your family.

    • Vicki

      You are so kind!  Blessings to you too!

  • CeciliaMarks

    Vicki, I’m one of your slow, pokey readers…read, think, read, ponder, prayer. Anyway your selection of this book during this time for me was extremely beneficial. During a month of great desolation brought me to your lesson on “hugs from God” which helped me to focus on His gift of gratitude. Gratitude and praise for the teaching He imparted to me during this time, for staying focused thru the readings, and the help He sent thru “Imitation”, St. John of the Cross and the Ignacian exercises. I seem to one of those who must experience what I study to truly grasp and understand the lesson. Our Lord is so gracious in preparing support before we know we need it. I look forward to reading with y’all, “Navigating the Interior Life.” For navigating it surely is!

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