Sunday, February 26, 2012

Life 101: Idleness

Never be entirely idle; but either be reading, or writing, 
or praying or meditating or endeavoring something for the public good.

                                                                               Thomas a Kempis (1380 – 1471)

Thomas à Kempis was a late Medieval Catholic monk and the probable author of The Imitation of Christ, which is one of the best known Christian books on devotion. His name means, "Thomas of Kempen", his home town and in German he is known as Thomas von Kempen. He also is known by various spellings of his family name: Thomas Haemerkken; Thomas Hammerlein; Thomas Hemerken, and Thomas Hämerken.

In 1392 he followed his brother, Jan, to Deventer, Netherlands in order to attend the city school. While attending school in Deventer, Thomas encountered the Brethren of the Common Life, followers of Gerard Groote's Modern Devotion. He attended school in Deventer from 1392 to 1399.

After leaving school, Thomas traveled to Zwolle, Netherlands to visit his brother again, after Jan had become the prior of the Mount St. Agnes monastery. Thereafter, Thomas was invested at the Mount St. Agnes monastery in 1406. He did not become ordained as a priest, however, until almost a decade later. He became a prolific copyist and writer. Thomas received priest's orders in 1413 and was made sub-prior of the monastery in 1429.

Kempis was born at the Lower Rhine region in Kempen, Germany, County of Cleves ca. 1380.  He died in 1471 near Zwolle in the Prince-Bishopric of Utrecht, seventy-five miles north of his birthplace.

Read more here.

This post is part of Ruby Tuesday and Litratong Pinoy

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  1. Thanks for reminding me of The Imitation.... a good book for meditation on lent...

    "Be ready to suffer many adversities and many kinds of trouble in this miserable life, for troublesome and miserable life will always be, no matter where you are; and so you will find it wherever you may hide. Thus it must be; and there is no way to evade the trials and sorrows of life but to bear them." Chapter 12: The Royal Road to the Holy Cross

    1. A wonderful rejoinder indeed, Crossbeak. Many thanks for sharing :)

  2. When I first met "The Imitation of Christ", it was during a retreat in grade school, one of the spiritual reading books. I ignored it because the term "imitation" had a negative connotation to me, as in "counterfeit" so I ignored it.
    Another great work is "The Interior Castle" of St. Teresa of Avila.

    1. Impressive, Crossbeak! What grade school did you attend? I attended a public school in which the Religion class was provided by teachers from Espiritu Santo Parochial School in Santa Cruz, Manila.

  3. I like the quote from Thomas a Kempis, although I have to confess that there are times when I wish I could be entirely idle. Alas, I am not wired that way, and I am always reading or writing or dreaming...while I am dying. (No, I don't have a terminal illness, other than being human.)

    1. Same here, but I try to turn it into more of a creative pastime like you as well -- reading, most times.

      Thanks for the visit MMT!

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  5. Baka naman nag-iisip lang kung anong libro ang magandang basahin, o kaya ay kumpunihin :-)

  6. Nice piece of history. I must admit I was raised as a catholic (not practising) but never heard of this book.

    At parang ang lalim ng iniisip nya (photo)
    Happy L.P. Tito Eric, thanks for playing again :)