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Thomas Kempis  

Book One. Book Two. Book Three. Book Four.

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


A PRAYER FOR THE GRACE OF DEVOTION
O Lord my God, You are all my good. And who am I that I should dare to speak to You? I am Your poorest and meanest servant, a vile worm, much more poor and contemptible than I know or dare to say. Yet remember me, Lord, because I am nothing, I have nothing, and I can do nothing. You alone are good, just, and holy. You can do all things, You give all things, You fill all things: only the sinner do You leave empty-handed. Remember Your tender mercies and fill my heart with Your grace, You Who will not allow Your works to be in vain. How can I bear this life of misery unless You comfort me with Your mercy and grace? Do not turn Your face from me. Do not delay Your visitation. Do not withdraw Your consolation, lest in Your sight my soul become as desert land. Teach me, Lord, to do Your will. Teach me to live worthily and humbly in Your sight, for You are my wisdom Who know me truly, and Who knew me even before the world was made and before I was born into it.

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

A PRAYER THAT THE WILL OF GOD BE DONE
Grant me Your grace, O most merciful Jesus, that it may be with me, and work with me, and remain with me to the very end. Grant that I may always desire and will that which is most acceptable and pleasing to You. Let Your will be mine. Let my will always follow Yours and agree perfectly with it. Let my will be one with Yours in willing and in not willing, and let me be unable to will or not will anything but what You will or do not will. Grant that I may die to all things in this world, and for Your sake love to be despised and unknown in this life. Give me above all desires the desire to rest in You, and in You let my heart have peace. You are true peace of heart. You alone are its rest. Without You all things are difficult and troubled. In this peace, the selfsame that is in You, the Most High, the everlasting Good, I will sleep and take my rest. Amen. 

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


A PRAYER AGAINST BAD THOUGHTS
O Lord my God, be not far from me. O my God, hasten to help me, for varied thoughts and great fears have risen up within me, afflicting my soul. How shall I escape them unharmed? How shall I dispel them?
"I will go before you," says the Lord, "and will humble the great ones of earth. I will open the doors of the prison, and will reveal to you hidden secrets."
Do as You say, Lord, and let all evil thoughts fly from Your face. This is my hope and my only comfort -- to fly to You in all tribulation, to confide in You, and to call on You from the depths of my heart and to await patiently for Your consolation.

A PRAYER FOR ENLIGHTENING THE MIND
Enlighten me, good Jesus, with the brightness of internal light, and take away all darkness from the habitation of my heart. Restrain my wandering thoughts and suppress the temptations which attack me so violently. Fight strongly for me, and vanquish these evil beasts -- the alluring desires of the flesh -- so that peace may come through Your power and the fullness of Your praise resound in the holy courts, which is a pure conscience. Command the winds and the tempests; say to the sea: "Be still," and to the north wind, "Do not blow," and there will be a great calm.
Send forth Your light and Your truth to shine on the earth, for I am as earth, empty and formless until You illumine me. Pour out Your grace from above. Shower my heart with heavenly dew. Open the springs of devotion to water the earth, that it may produce the best of good fruits. Lift up my heart pressed down by the weight of sins, and direct all my desires to heavenly things, that having tasted the sweetness of supernal happiness, I may find no pleasure in thinking of earthly things.
Snatch me up and deliver me from all the passing comfort of creatures, for no created thing can fully quiet and satisfy my desires. Join me to Yourself in an inseparable bond of love; because You alone can satisfy him who loves You, and without You all things are worthless.

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


A PRAYER FOR CLEANSING THE HEART AND OBTAINING HEAVENLY WISDOM
Strengthen me by the grace of Your holy spirit, O God. Give me the power to be strengthened inwardly and to empty my heart of all vain care and anxiety, so that I may not be drawn away by many desires, whether for precious things or mean ones. Let me look upon everything as passing, and upon myself as soon to pass away with them, because there is nothing lasting under the sun, where all is vanity and affliction of spirit. How wise is he who thinks thus!
Give me, Lord, heavenly wisdom to learn above all else to seek and find You, to enjoy and love You more than anything, and to consider other things as they are, as Your wisdom has ordered them. Grant me prudence to avoid the flatterer and to bear patiently with him who disagrees with me. For it is great wisdom not to be moved by the sound of words, nor to give ear to the wicked, flattering siren. Then, I shall walk safely in the way I have begun.

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

THE VOICE OF CHRIST
COME to Me, all you that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you. (Mt 11,28).
The bread which I will give is My Flesh, for the life of the world.(Gv 6,52).
Take you and eat: this is My Body, which shall be delivered for you. Do this for the commemoration of Me.(1Cor 11,24).
He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, abideth in Me, and I in him.(Gv 6,57).
The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life."(Gv 6,64).

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