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Benedict
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« on: September 25, 2020, 07:53:58 PM »

OOK ONE
THOUGHTS HELPFUL IN THE LIFE OF THE SOUL
The First Chapter
Imitating Christ and Despising All Vanities on Earth
HE WHO follows Me, walks not in darkness,” says the Lord. John 8:12. By these words of Christ we are advised to imitate His life and habits, if we wish to be truly enlightened and free from all blindness of heart. Let our chief effort, therefore, be to study the life of Jesus Christ.
The teaching of Christ is more excellent than all the advice of the saints, and he who has His spirit will find in it a hidden manna. Now, there are many who hear the Gospel often but care little for it because they have not the spirit of Christ. Yet whoever wishes to understand fully the words of Christ must try to pattern his whole life on that of Christ.
What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing to God. I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it. For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God? Vanity of vanities and all is vanity, except to love God and serve Him alone.
This is the greatest wisdom—to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the world. It is vanity, therefore, to seek and trust in riches that perish. It is vanity also to court honor and to be puffed up with pride. It is vanity to follow the lusts of the body and to desire things for which severe punishment later must come. It is vanity to wish for long life and to care little about a well-spent life. It is vanity to be concerned with the present only and not to make provision for things to come. It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not to look ahead where eternal joy abides.
Often recall the proverb: “The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear filled with hearing.”Eccles. 1:8. Try, moreover, to turn your heart from the love of things visible and bring yourself to things invisible. For they who follow their own evil passions stain their consciences and lose the grace of God.

The Second Chapter
Having a Humble Opinion of Self
EVERY man naturally desires knowledge (Aristotle, Metaphysics, i. 1); but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars. Augustine, (Confessions V. 4.) He who knows himself well becomes mean in his own eyes and is not happy when praised by men.
If I knew all things in the world and had not charity, what would it profit me before God Who will judge me by my deeds?
Shun too great a desire for knowledge, for in it there is much fretting and delusion. Intellectuals like to appear learned and to be called wise. Yet there are many things the knowledge of which does little or no good to the soul, and he who concerns himself about other things than those which lead to salvation is very unwise.
Many words do not satisfy the soul; but a good life eases the mind and a clean conscience inspires great trust in God.
The more you know and the better you understand, the more severely will you be judged, unless your life is also the more holy. Do not be proud, therefore, because of your learning or skill. Rather, fear because of the talent given you. If you think you know many things and understand them well enough, realize at the same time that there is much you do not know. Hence, do not affect wisdom, but admit your ignorance. Why prefer yourself to anyone else when many are more learned, more cultured than you?
If you wish to learn and appreciate something worth while, then love to be unknown and considered as nothing. Truly to know and despise self is the best and most perfect counsel. To think of oneself as nothing, and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom. Wherefore, if you see another sin openly or commit a serious crime, do not consider yourself better, for you do not know how long you can remain in good estate. All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself.

The Third Chapter
The Doctrine of Truth
HAPPY is he to whom truth manifests itself, not in signs and words that fade, but as it actually is. Our opinions, our senses often deceive us and we discern very little.
What good is much discussion of involved and obscure matters when our ignorance of them will not be held against us on Judgment Day? Neglect of things which are profitable and necessary and undue concern with those which are irrelevant and harmful, are great folly.
We have eyes and do not see.
What, therefore, have we to do with questions of philosophy? He to whom the Eternal Word speaks is free from theorizing. For from this Word are all things and of Him all things speak—the Beginning Who also speaks to us. Without this Word no man understands or judges aright. He to whom it becomes everything, who traces all things to it and who sees all things in it, may ease his heart and remain at peace with God.
O God, You Who are the truth, make me one with You in love everlasting. I am often wearied by the many things I hear and read, but in You is all that I long for. Let the learned be still, let all creatures be silent before You; You alone speak to me.
The more recollected a man is, and the more simple of heart he becomes, the easier he understands sublime things, for he receives the light of knowledge from above. The pure, simple, and steadfast spirit is not distracted by many labors, for he does them all for the honor of God. And since he enjoys interior peace he seeks no selfish end in anything. What, indeed, gives more trouble and affliction than uncontrolled desires of the heart?
A good and devout man arranges in his mind the things he has to do, not according to the whims of evil inclination but according to the dictates of right reason. Who is forced to struggle more than he who tries to master himself? This ought to be our purpose, then: to conquer self, to become stronger each day, to advance in virtue.
Every perfection in this life has some imperfection mixed with it and no learning of ours is without some darkness. Humble knowledge of self is a surer path to God than the ardent pursuit of learning. Not that learning is to be considered evil, or knowledge, which is good in itself and so ordained by God; but a clean conscience and virtuous life ought always to be preferred. Many often err and accomplish little or nothing because they try to become learned rather than to live well.
If men used as much care in uprooting vices and implanting virtues as they do in discussing problems, there would not be so much evil and scandal in the world, or such laxity in religious organizations. On the day of judgment, surely, we shall not be asked what we have read but what we have done; not how well we have spoken but how well we have lived.
Tell me, where now are all the masters and teachers whom you knew so well in life and who were famous for their learning? Others have already taken their places and I know not whether they ever think of their predecessors. During life they seemed to be something; now they are seldom remembered. How quickly the glory of the world passes away! If only their lives had kept pace with their learning, then their study and reading would have been worth while.
How many there are who perish because of vain worldly knowledge and too little care for serving God. They became vain in their own conceits because they chose to be great rather than humble.
He is truly great who has great charity. He is truly great who is little in his own eyes and makes nothing of the highest honor. He is truly wise who looks upon all earthly things as folly that he may gain Christ. He who does God’s will and renounces his own is truly very learned.

The Fourth Chapter Prudence in Action
DO NOT yield to every impulse and suggestion but consider things carefully and patiently in the light of God’s will. For very often, sad to say, we are so weak that we believe and speak evil of others rather than good. Perfect men, however, do not readily believe every talebearer, because they know that human frailty is prone to evil and is likely to appear in speech.
Not to act rashly or to cling obstinately to one’s opinion, not to believe everything people say or to spread abroad the gossip one has heard, is great wisdom.
Take counsel with a wise and conscientious man. Seek the advice of your betters in preference to following your own inclinations.
A good life makes a man wise according to God and gives him experience in many things, for the more humble he is and the more subject to God, the wiser and the more at peace he will be in all things.
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CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI
CRUX SACRA SIT MIHI LUX!
NON DRACO SIT MIHI DUX!
VADE RETRO SATANA!
NUMQUAM SUADE MIHI VANA!
SUNT MALA QUAE LIBAS
IPSE VENENA BIBAS!
All Glory Be To God!
All Praise Be To God!
For God Is Greater Than All Things!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Benedict
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« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2020, 12:13:40 AM »

The Fifth Chapter

Reading the Holy Scripture

TRUTH, not eloquence, is to be sought in reading the Holy Scriptures; and every part must be read
in the spirit in which it was written. For in the Scriptures we ought to seek profit rather than polished
diction.
Likewise we ought to read simple and devout books as willingly as learned and profound ones.
We ought not to be swayed by the authority of the writer, whether he be a great literary light or an
insignificant person, but by the love of simple truth. We ought not to ask who is speaking, but mark
what is said. Men pass away, but the truth of the Lord remains forever. God speaks to us in many
ways without regard for persons.
Our curiosity often impedes our reading of the Scriptures, when we wish to understand and
mull over what we ought simply to read and pass by.
If you would profit from it, therefore, read with humility, simplicity, and faith, and never seek
a reputation for being learned. Seek willingly and listen attentively to the words of the saints; do
not be displeased with the sayings of the ancients, for they were not made without purpose.
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CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI
CRUX SACRA SIT MIHI LUX!
NON DRACO SIT MIHI DUX!
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NUMQUAM SUADE MIHI VANA!
SUNT MALA QUAE LIBAS
IPSE VENENA BIBAS!
All Glory Be To God!
All Praise Be To God!
For God Is Greater Than All Things!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Benedict
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2020, 09:45:12 PM »

Reflection on Chapter 5
Truth! O Truth! How I have loved Thee! How I have sought Thee! O God of Truth! Teach me Thy Truth that I may walk in Thy Way!
 Give me what you know to be good for me! For you alone O God know the Absolute Truth, the incomprehensible Truth, the ineffable divine Truth.
Your Wisdom penetrates all things O Most High! By the manifold splendor of Thy purity you foreknow all things!
O Jesus, no man has ever spoken as Thee, many have tried, but none have the fullness of Sacred Eloquence as Thee.
O My Jesus, though art exceedingly truthful, for you do not hold back the Truth from common people through lofty sublimity but express the hidden things of God plainly for children and illiterate to learn.
O Jesus! You have opened for me the treasury of knowledge! Divine Truth, Ever-present Truth! All Holy Truth! Be exalted O Truth above the heavens, for mankind is not worthy of Thy sacred presence, nor is any worthy of Thy divinity!
Yet the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, would have us be filled with Truth, brimming with the Spring of Truth, overflowing into exuberance! For Jesus came to save! And God's Word will not return to Him in vain!
This is the Truth! The Jesus Christ, died as propitiation for the sins of the world, and rose again, conquering death by death and granting eternal life through eternal life, for Jesus, the Eternal Word, could not be held within the grave!
The stones spoke out against the world as the earth began to quake! The very sky was blackened by the death of Truth! The dead rose from their graves in indignation at the extinguishing of Truth!
Extinguish not the Spirit of Truth, for it is the Truth that sets you free!
Be not captive to a lie! Neither a slave to falsehood! For where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom! Where the Spirit of Truth there is freedom!
Therefore, whenever you read Sacred Scripture, be patient with God, He is neither impatient to impart to you the understanding of His Word, nor is He slack to impart Wisdom to the simple nor is He negligent to invest Truth to the faithful!
Be faithful my friends in the little things, in your prayers, in your words, in your actions, be faithful, be truthful, for God remain faithfuls and God remains truthful, unable to deceive, by the very nature of Truth.
For God is not both falsehood and Truth! The devil is the Father of Lies, but God is the Father of Truth.
Therefore eat from the Tree of Truth, resist the devil's lies and they will perish as waves upon the shore, unable to exceed their allotted boundary without the permission of God.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2020, 10:46:22 PM by Benedict » Logged

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CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI
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For God Is Greater Than All Things!
Alleluia!
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eschator83
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« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2020, 08:49:36 AM »

I have a 1954 edition titled My Imitation of Christ by Confraternity of the Precious Blood which is called a Revised Translation, but has virtually no comment on the nature or purpose of the revision.  It continues much archaic language: sample, Book 1, Chapter 1, "'He that followeth me, walketh not in darkness,' saith our Lord," John 8,12."
Pages 458-9 describe How to Use This Book, "a page a day is sufficient to strengthen the soul..." if read slowly to permit each word and grace to penetrate the soul, and if the Holy Ghost is invoked before every reading.
There is a four-page index (463-60) and the book concludes with Contents (468-474).  By contrast, My Way of Life concludes with its index (pp 616-630) with much more detail.
Imitation has a Reading Guide (pp 460-2), but curiously the last chapter is titled Against Curious Searching, although this seems to refer primarily to the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
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« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2020, 04:08:27 PM »

Escator83, here is a prayer I learned to say before studying or before any pious reading
O Most Good Lord! Send down upon us the grace of Thy Holy Spirit, granting us understanding and the strengthening of our mental powers, that attending to the teaching given us, we may grow to the glory of Thee, Our Creator, to the comfort of our parents, and to the benefit of the Church and our homeland. Amen

And here is the prayer to be said after study or pious reading
We thank Thee, O Creator, that Thou hast vouchsafed us Thy grace to attend instruction. Bless those in authority over us, our parents and our instructors, who are leading us to an awareness of good, and grant us power and strength to continue this study.

But yes, one chapter per day is sufficient, especially if you read it over and over again as to memorize at least one lesson or idea from it.
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CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI
CRUX SACRA SIT MIHI LUX!
NON DRACO SIT MIHI DUX!
VADE RETRO SATANA!
NUMQUAM SUADE MIHI VANA!
SUNT MALA QUAE LIBAS
IPSE VENENA BIBAS!
All Glory Be To God!
All Praise Be To God!
For God Is Greater Than All Things!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Benedict
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« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2020, 04:09:19 PM »

Chapter 6
Unbridled Affections

WHEN a man desires a thing too much, he at once becomes ill at ease. A proud and avaricious man
never rests, whereas he who is poor and humble of heart lives in a world of peace. An unmortified
man is quickly tempted and overcome in small, trifling evils; his spirit is weak, in a measure carnal
and inclined to sensual things; he can hardly abstain from earthly desires. Hence it makes him sad
to forego them; he is quick to anger if reproved. Yet if he satisfies his desires, remorse of conscience
overwhelms him because he followed his passions and they did not lead to the peace he sought.
True peace of heart, then, is found in resisting passions, not in satisfying them. There is no
peace in the carnal man, in the man given to vain attractions, but there is peace in the fervent and
spiritual man.
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CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI
CRUX SACRA SIT MIHI LUX!
NON DRACO SIT MIHI DUX!
VADE RETRO SATANA!
NUMQUAM SUADE MIHI VANA!
SUNT MALA QUAE LIBAS
IPSE VENENA BIBAS!
All Glory Be To God!
All Praise Be To God!
For God Is Greater Than All Things!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Benedict
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« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2020, 04:31:08 PM »

Chapter 7
Avoiding False Hope and Pride

VAIN is the man who puts his trust in men, in created things.
Do not be ashamed to serve others for the love of Jesus Christ and to seem poor in this world.
Do not be self-sufficient but place your trust in God. Do what lies in your power and God will aid
your good will. Put no trust in your own learning nor in the cunning of any man, but rather in the
grace of God Who helps the humble and humbles the proud.
If you have wealth, do not glory in it, nor in friends because they are powerful, but in God Who
gives all things and Who desires above all to give Himself. Do not boast of personal stature or of
physical beauty, qualities which are marred and destroyed by a little sickness. Do not take pride in
your talent or ability, lest you displease God to Whom belongs all the natural gifts that you have.
Do not think yourself better than others lest, perhaps, you be accounted worse before God Who
knows what is in man. Do not take pride in your good deeds, for God’s judgments differ from those
of men and what pleases them often displeases Him. If there is good in you, see more good in
others, so that you may remain humble. It does no harm to esteem yourself less than anyone else,
but it is very harmful to think yourself better than even one. The humble live in continuous peace,
while in the hearts of the proud are envy and frequent anger.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2020, 02:55:17 PM by Benedict » Logged

PAX
CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI
CRUX SACRA SIT MIHI LUX!
NON DRACO SIT MIHI DUX!
VADE RETRO SATANA!
NUMQUAM SUADE MIHI VANA!
SUNT MALA QUAE LIBAS
IPSE VENENA BIBAS!
All Glory Be To God!
All Praise Be To God!
For God Is Greater Than All Things!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Benedict
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« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2020, 02:56:21 PM »

The Eighth Chapter

Shunning Over-Familiarity

DO NOT open your heart to every man, but discuss your affairs with one who is wise and who
fears God. Do not keep company with young people and strangers. Do not fawn upon the rich, and
do not be fond of mingling with the great. Associate with the humble and the simple, with the
devout and virtuous, and with them speak of edifying things. Be not intimate with any woman, but
generally commend all good women to God. Seek only the intimacy of God and of His angels, and
avoid the notice of men.
We ought to have charity for all men but familiarity with all is not expedient. Sometimes it
happens that a person enjoys a good reputation among those who do not know him, but at the same
time is held in slight regard by those who do. Frequently we think we are pleasing others by our
presence and we begin rather to displease them by the faults they find in us.
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PAX
CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI
CRUX SACRA SIT MIHI LUX!
NON DRACO SIT MIHI DUX!
VADE RETRO SATANA!
NUMQUAM SUADE MIHI VANA!
SUNT MALA QUAE LIBAS
IPSE VENENA BIBAS!
All Glory Be To God!
All Praise Be To God!
For God Is Greater Than All Things!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
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