Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday with Thomas á Kempis

I have been reading through the Imitation of Christ the last few weeks. My wife got me a Kindle for my birthday and Thomas á Kempis was one of the free books available. I have read him several time over the years and always find something new. I thought what he had to say in the section below was particularly important to those of us who teach and love the pursuit of knowledge.

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 worthwhile.

1 comment:

  1. How true this is. Being a Christ follower is experienced; not simply the facts someone knows. I appreciate, though, that Kempis did not discount learning and knowledge. But, it must be the servant of the living experience.