CHRIST IN SEPIA
BANNER
BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941

Note: This is the older version [lapsed copyright], published the same year as the approbation, and not the "updated" version of more recent publication.
All the attached prayers are in the traditional format and complete.


THE LIFE OF THOMAS A KEMPIS

------Book 1------
CHAPTER 1: OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST AND THE CONTEMPT OF THE WORLD
CHAPTER 2: OF HAVING A HUMBLE OPINION OF ONE'S SELF
CHAPTER 3: OF THE DOCTRINE OF TRUTH
CHAPTER 4: OF PRUDENCE IN WHAT WE DO
CHAPTER 5: OF READING THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
CHAPTER 6: OF INORDINATE AFFECTIONS
CHAPTER 7: OF AVOIDING ARROGANCE
CHAPTER 8: OF TOO MUCH INTIMACY
CHAPTER 9: OF OBEDIENCE AND SUBJECTION
CHAPTER 10: OF SUPERFLUITY OF WORDS
CHAPTER 11: OF ACQUIRING PEACE
CHAPTER 12: OF THE ADVANTAGE OF ADVERSITY
CHAPTER 13: OF RESISTING TEMPTATIONS
CHAPTER 14: OF AVOIDING RASH JUDGMENT
CHAPTER 15: OF WORKS DONE OUT OF CHARITY
CHAPTER 16: OF BEARING THE DEFECTS OF OTHERS
CHAPTER 17: OF THE MONASTIC LIFE
CHAPTER 18: OF THE EXAMPLES OF THE HOLY FATHERS
CHAPTER 19: OF THE EXERCISES OF A GOOD RELIGIOUS
CHAPTER 20: OF THE LOVE OF SOLITUDE AND SILENCE
CHAPTER 21: OF COMPUNCTION OF HEART
CHAPTER 22: OF THE CONSIDERATION OF HUMAN MISERY
CHAPTER 23: OF THE THOUGHTS OF DEATH
CHAPTER 24: OF JUDGMENT AND THE PUNISHMENT OF SINNERS
CHAPTER 25: OF THE FERVENT AMENDMENT OF OUR WHOLE LIFE

------Book 2------
CHAPTER 1: OF INTERIOR CONVERSATION
CHAPTER 2: OF HUMBLE SUBMISSION
CHAPTER 3: OF THE GOOD PEACEABLE MAN
CHAPTER 4: OF A PURE MIND AND A SIMPLE INTENTION
CHAPTER 5: OF SELF-CONSIDERATION
CHAPTER 6: OF THE JOY OF A GOOD CONSCIENCE
CHAPTER 7: OF THE LOVE OF JESUS ABOVE ALL THINGS
CHAPTER 8: OF FAMILIAR FRIENDSHIP WITH JESUS
CHAPTER 9: OF THE WANT OF ALL CONSOLATION
CHAPTER 10: OF GRATITUDE FOR THE GRACE OF GOD
CHAPTER 11: OF THE SMALL NUMBER OF THE LOVERS OF THE CROSS OF JESUS
CHAPTER 12: OF THE ROYAL ROAD OF THE HOLY CROSS

------Book 3------
CHAPTER 1: OF  THE INTERNAL DISCOURSE OF CHRIST TO A FAITHFUL SOUL
CHAPTER 2: THAT TRUTH SPEAKETH WITHIN US WITHOUT NOISE OF WORDS
CHAPTER 3: THE WORDS OF GOD ARE TO BE HEARD WITH HUMILITY,
AND THAT MANY WEIGH THEM NOT

CHAPTER 4: THAT WE OUGHT TO WALK BEFORE GOD IN TRUTH AND HUMILITY
CHAPTER 5: OF THE WONDERFUL EFFECT OF DIVINE LOVE
CHAPTER 6: OF THE PROOF OF A TRUE LOVER
CHAPTER 7: OF CONCEALING GRACE UNDER THE GUARDIANSHIP OF HUMILITY
CHAPTER 8: OF THE MEAN ESTIMATION OF ONE'S SELF IN THE EYES OF GOD
CHAPTER 9: THAT ALL THINGS ARE TO BE REFERRED TO GOD,
AS TO OUR LAST END

CHAPTER 10: THAT IT IS SWEET TO DESPISE THE WORLD AND SERVE GOD
CHAPTER 11: THAT THE DESIRES OF OUR HEART ARE TO BE EXAMINED AND MODERATED
CHAPTER 12: OF ACQUIRING PATIENCE, AND OF STRIVING AGAINST CONCUPISCENCE
CHAPTER 13: OF THE OBEDIENCE OF A HUMBLE SUBJECT,
AND THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS CHRIST

CHAPTER 14: OF CONSIDERING THE SECRET JUDGMENTS OF GOD,
THAT WE NOT BE PUFFED UP WITH OUR OWN GOOD WORKS

CHAPTER 15: HOW  WE ARE TO BE DISPOSED, AND WHAT WE ARE TO SAY,
WHEN WE DESIRE ANYTHING

CHAPTER 16: THAT TRUE CONSOLATION IS TO BE SOUGHT IN GOD ALONE
CHAPTER 17: THAT ALL SOLICITUDE MUST BE PLACED IN GOD
CHAPTER 18: THAT TEMPORAL MISERIES ARE TO BE BORNE WITH EQUANIMITY,
AFTER THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST

CHAPTER 19: OF SUPPORTING INJURIES; AND WHO IS PROVED TO BE TRULY PATIENT
CHAPTER 20: OF THE CONFESSION OF OUR OWN INFIRMITY,
AND OF THE MISERIES OF THIS LIFE

CHAPTER 21: THAT WE ARE TO REST IN GOD ABOVE ALL GOODS AND GIFTS
CHAPTER 22: ON THE REMEMBRANCE OF THE MANIFOLD BENEFITS OF GOD
CHAPTER 23: OF FOUR THINGS WHICH BRING MUCH PEACE
CHAPTER 24: OF AVOIDING CURIOUS INQUIRY RESPECTING THE LIFE OF OTHERS
CHAPTER 25: IN WHAT FIRM PEACE OF THE HEART AND TRUE PROGRESS DOTH CONSIST
CHAPTER 26: OF THE EXCELLENCE OF A FREE MIND, WHICH DEVOUT PRAYER RATHER MERITETH THAN READING
CHAPTER 27: THAT SELF-LOVE CHIEFLY KEEPETH US BACK FROM THE SOVEREIGN GOOD
CHAPTER 28: AGAINST THE TONGUES OF DETRACTORS
CHAPTER 29: HOW WHEN TRIBULATION PRESSETH, WE MUST CALL UPON AND BLESS GOD
CHAPTER 30: OF ASKING THE DIVINE ASSISTANCE, AND OF CONFIDENCE OF RECOVERING GRACE
CHAPTER 31: OF THE CONTEMPT OF EVERYTHING CREATED, IN ORDER TO FIND THE CREATOR
CHAPTER 32: OF SELF-ABNEGATION, AND THE RENUNCIATION OF ALL CUPIDITY
CHAPTER 33: OF THE INCONSTANCY OF OUR HEART, AND OF DIRECTING OUR FINAL INTENTION TO GOD
CHAPTER 34: THAT HE THAT LOVETH GOD RELISHETH HIM ABOVE ALL THINGS AND IN ALL THINGS
CHAPTER 35: THAT THERE IS NO BEING SECURE FROM TEMPTATION IN THIS LIFE
CHAPTER 36: AGAINST THE VAIN JUDGMENTS OF MAN
CHAPTER 37: OF A PURE AND ENTIRE RESIGNATION OF OURSELVES FOR THE OBTAINING FREEDOM OF HEART
CHAPTER 38: OF THE GOOD GOVERNMENT OF OURSELVES IN OUTWARD THINGS, AND OF HAVING RECOURSE TO GOD IN DANGERS
CHAPTER
39: THAT A MAN MUST NOT BE TOO ANXIOUS ABOUT HIS AFFAIRS
CHAPTER 40: THAT MAN HATH NO GOOD OF HIMSELF, AND THAT HE CANNOT GLORY IN ANYTHING
CHAPTER 41: OF THE CONTEMPT OF ALL TEMPORAL HONORS
CHAPTER 42: THAT PEACE IS NOT TO BE PLACED IN MEN
CHAPTER 43: AGAINST VAIN AND WORLDLY LEARNING
CHAPTER 44: OF NOT DRAWING TO OURSELVES EXTERIOR THINGS
CHAPTER 45: THAT WE MAY NOT BELIEVE ALL, AND HOW EASILY WE ERR IN SPEECH
CHAPTER 46: OF  HAVING CONFIDENCE IN GOD, WHEN ARROWS OF WORDS ARE AIMED AGAINST US
CHAPTER 47: THAT ALL GRIEVOUS THINGS ARE TO BE ENDURED FOR LIFE EVERLASTING
CHAPTER 48: OF THE DAY OF ETERNITY, AND OF THE DISTRESSES OF THIS LIFE
CHAPTER 49: OF THE DESIRE OF ETERNAL LIFE, AND HOW GREAT ARE THE BENEFITS PROMISED TO THEM THAT FIGHT
CHAPTER 50: HOW A DESOLATE PERSON OUGHT TO OFFER HIMSELF INTO THE HANDS OF GOD
CHAPTER 51: THAT WE MUST EXERCISE OURSELVES IN HUMBLE WORKS WHEN WE CANNOT ATTAIN TO THE HIGHEST
CHAPTER 52: THAT A MAN OUGHT NOT TO ESTEEM HIMSELF WORTHY OF CONSOLATION, BUT RATHER DESERVING OF CHASTISEMENT
CHAPTER 53: THAT THE GRACE OF GOD IS NOT COMMUNICATED TO THE EARTHLY-MINDED
CHAPTER 54: OF THE DIFFERENT MOTIONS OF NATURE AND GRACE
CHAPTER 55: OF THE CORRUPTION OF NATURE AND OF THE EFFICACY OF DIVINE GRACE
CHAPTER 56: THAT WE OUGHT TO DENY OURSELVES, AND IMITATE CROSS BY THE CROSS
CHAPTER 57: THAT A MAN SHOULD NOT BE TOO MUCH DEJECTED WHEN HE FALLS INTO SOME DEFECTS
CHAPTER 58: OF NOT SEARCHING INTO HIGH MATTERS, NOR SCRUTINIZING THE SECRET JUDGMENTS OF GOD
CHAPTER 59: THAT ALL HOPE AND CONFIDENCE IS TO BE FIXED IN GOD ALONE

------Book 4------
CHAPTER 1: WITH HOW GREAT REVERENCE CHRIST OUGHT TO BE RECEIVED
CHAPTER 2: THAT THE GREAT GOODNESS AND LOVE OF GOD
 
ARE SHOWN TO MAN IN THIS SACRAMENT
CHAPTER 3: THAT IT IS PROFITABLE TO COMMUNICATE OFTEN
CHAPTER 4: THAT MANY BENEFITS ARE BESTOWED ON THOSE WHO COMMUNICATE DEVOUTLY
CHAPTER 5: ON THE DIGNITY OF THE SACRAMENT AND ON THE PRIESTLY STATE
CHAPTER 6: OF SELF-INTERROGATION CONCERNING THE EXERCISE PROPER BEFORE COMMUNION
CHAPTER 7: OF THE EXAMINATION OF OUR OWN CONSCIENCE,
AND OF A RESOLUTION OF AMENDMENT
CHAPTER 8: OF THE OBLATION OF CHRIST ON THE CROSS,
AND THE RESIGNATION OF OURSELVES
CHAPTER 9: THAT WE MUST OFFER OURSELVES AND ALL THAT IS OURS,
TO GOD, AND PRAY FOR ALL
CHAPTER 10: THAT THE HOLY COMMUNION IS NOT LIGHTLY TO BE FORBORNE
CHAPTER 11: THAT THE BODY OF CHRIST AND THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
ARE MOST NECESSARY TO A FAITHFUL SOUL
CHAPTER 12: WITH HOW GREAT DILIGENCE HE WHO IS TO COMMUNICATE
OUGHT TO PREPARE HIMSELF FOR CHRIST
CHAPTER 13: THAT A DEVOUT SOUL OUGHT TO DESIRE, WITH THE WHOLE HEART,
TO BE UNITED TO CHRIST IN THIS SACRAMENT
CHAPTER 14: OF THE ARDENT DESIRE OF SOME DEVOUT PERSONS TOWARDS THE BODY OF CHRIST
CHAPTER 15: THE GRACE OF DEVOTION IS ACQUIRED BY HUMILITY AND SELF-ABNEGATION
CHAPTER 16: THAT WE OUGHT TO LAY OPEN OUR NECESSITIES TO CHRIST,
AND CRAVE HIS GRACE
CHAPTER 17: OF AN ARDENT LOVE AND VEHEMENT DESIRE TO RECEIVE CHRIST
CHAPTER 18: THAT A MAN SHOULD NOT BE A CURIOUS SEARCHER INTO THIS SACRAMENT,
BUT A HUMBLE FOLLOWER OF CHRIST, SUBMITTING HIS SENSE TO HOLY FAITH
DEVOTIONS FOR MASS
PRAYERS FOR CONFESSION
PRAYERS FOR HOLY COMMUNION


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THE LIFE OF THOMAS A KEMPIS

Born at Kempen in the Diocese of Cologne, about 1379, he died July 25, 1471.

His parents, John and Gertrude Haemerken, were of the artisan class; it is said that Gertrude kept the village school, and most probably the father worked in metals, a common calling in Kempen, whence perhaps the surname Haemerken, or Haemerlein, Latinized Malleolus (a little hammer). We have certain information of only two children, John, the senior by about fourteen years, and Thomas. Thomas was only thirteen when he set out for the schools of Deventer, in Holland. His brother had preceded him thither by ten or twelve years, and doubtless Thomas expected to find him still there. On his arrival, however, he learned that he had gone two years since with five other brothers of the Common Life to lay the foundations of a new congregation of Canons Regular at Windesheim, about twenty miles from Deventer, where he then went and was lovingly received by his brother who provided him with a letter of introduction to the superior of the Brothers of the Common Life at Deventer, Florentius Radewyn. Radewyn gave a warm welcome to the young brother of John Haemerken of Kempen, placed him for the time being in the house and under the maternal care of "a certain noble and devout lady", presented him to the rector of the schools, and paid his first fees, though the master returned the money when he learned whence it came. These particulars we have from the pen of Thomas himself in the biographies, written in his old age, of Gerard Groote, Florentius Radewyn, and their followers (see "The Founders of the New Devotion", London, 1905). For seven years he remained at Deventer, numbered from the first among the disciples of Radewyn, and for a good portion of the time living in his house under his immediate care. It is impossible to exaggerate the influence of those years in the formation of his character. The "new devotion", of which Deventer was then the focus and center, was a revival in the Low Countries in the fourteenth cetury of the fervour of the primitive Christians at Jerusalem and Antioch in the first. It owed its inception to the fervid preaching of the Deacon Gerard Groote, its further organization to the prudence and generous devotedness of Florentius Radewyn. Its associates were called the "Devout Brothers and Sisters", also the "Brothers and Sisters of the Common Life". They took no vows, but lived a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience, as far as was compatible with their state, some in their own homes and others, especially clerics, in community. They were forbidden to beg, but all were expected to earn their living by the labour of their hands; for the clerics this meant chiefly the transcribing of books and the instruction of the young. All earnings were placed in a common fund, at the disposal of the superior; the one ambition of all was to emulate the life and virtues of the first Christians, especially in the love of God and the neighbour, in simplicity, humility, and devotion. Furthermore, partly to provide the Devout Brothers and Sisters with effective protectors and experienced guides, partly to afford an easy transit to the religious state proper for those of their number who should desire it, Gerard Groote conceived the idea of establishing a branch of the canonical order, which should always maintain the closest relations with the members of the new devotion. This scheme was carried into effect after his untimely death, at the early age of forty-three, by the foundation of the congregation of Windesheim, as it was afterwards called from the tract of land where the first priory was established (1386). These details are given as helpful to a better understanding of the life and character of Kempis, a typical and exemplary Brother, and for seventy-two years he was one of the most distinguished of the Canons Regular.

At Deventer Thomas proved an apt pupil, already noted for his neatness and skill in transcribing manuscripts. This was a life-long labour of love with him; in addition to his own compositions he copied numerous treatises from the Fathers, especially St. Bernard, a Missal for the use of his community, and the whole Bible in four large volumes still extant. After completing his humanities at Deventer, in the autumn of 1399, with the commendation of his superior, Florentius Radewyn, Thomas sought admission among the Canons Regular of Windesheim at Mount St. Agnes, near Zwolle, of which monastery his brother John was then prior. The house had been established only the previous year, and as yet there was no claustral buildings, no garden, no benefactors, no funds. During his term of office, which lasted nine years, John Kempis built the priory and commenced the church. In these circumstances we find the explanation of the fact that Thomas was not clothed as a novice until 1406, at which date the cloister was just completed, nor ordained priest until 1413, the year after the church was consecrated. He was twice elected subprior, and once he was made procurator. The reason assigned by an ancient biographer for the latter appointment is one that does honour both to Thomas and his brethren, his love for the poor. After a time his preference for retirement, literary work, and contemplation prevailed with the Canons to relieve him of the burden. The experience thus gained he made use of in a spiritual treatise, "De fideli dispensatore".

His first tenure of office as subprior was interrupted by the exile of the community from Agnetenberg (1429), occasioned by the unpopular observance of the Canons of Windesheim of an interdict laid upon the country by Martin V. A dispute had arisen in connection with an appointment to the vacant See of Utrecht and an interdict was upon the land. The Canons remained in exile until the question was settled (1432). The community of Mount St. Agnes had dwelt meanwhile in a canonry of Lunenkerk, which they reformed and affiliated to Windesheim. More than a year of this trying period Thomas spent with his brother John in the convent of Bethany, near Arnheim, where he had been sent to assist and comfort his brother, who was ailing. He remained until his death (November, 1432). We find record of his election as subprior again in 1448, and doubtless he remained in office until age and infirmity procured him release. It was part of the subprior's duties to train the young religious, and to this fact no doubt we owe most of his minor treatises, in particular his "Sermons to the Novices Regular". We also know from early biographers that Thomas frequently preached in the church attached to the priory. Two similar series of these sermons are extant ("Prayers and Meditations on the Life of Christ" and "The Incarnation and Life of Our Lord", London, 1904, 1907). They treat of Kempis' favorite subjects, the mystery of our Redemption, and the love of Jesus Christ as shown in His words and works, but especially in the sufferings of His Passion. In person Thomas is described as a man of middle height and slight of build, dark complexion and vivid coloring, with a broad forehead and piercing eyes; kind and affable towards all, especially the sorrowful and the afflicted; constantly engaged in his favorite occupations of reading, writing, or prayer; in time of recreation for the most part silent and recollected, finding it difficult even to express an opinion on matters of mundane interest, but pouring out a ready torrent of eloquence when the conversation turned on God or the concerns of the soul. At such times often he would excuse himself, "My brethren", he would say, "I must go: Someone is waiting to converse with me in my cell." A possibly authentic portrait, preserved at Gertruidenberg, bears as his motto the words: "In omnibus requiem quaesivi et nusquam inveni nisi in een Hoecken met een Boecken" (Everywhere I have sought rest and found it nowhere, save in little nooks with little books). He was laid to rest in the eastern cloister in a spot carefully noted by the continuator of his chronicle. Two centuries after the Reformation, during which the priory was destroyed, the holy remains were transferred to Zwolle and enclosed in a handsome reliquary by Maximilian Hendrik, Prince-Bishop of Cologne. At present they are enshrined in St. Michael's Church, Zwolle, in a magnificent monument erected in 1897 by subscriptions from all over the world and inscribed: "Honori, non memoriae Thomae Kempensis, cujus nomen perennius quam monumentum" (To the honor not to the memory of Thomas Kempis, whose name is more enduring than any monument). The same Maximilian Hendrik, who showed such zeal in preserving and honoring the relics of Kempis, was also eager to see the cause of his beatification introduced and began to collect the necessary documents; but little more than a beginning was made when he died (1688) and since that date no further steps have been taken.




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