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Online Edition - Vol. X, No. 1: March 2004

Christ Crowned with Thorns.
Style of Jan Mostaert, after 1510. Oil on oak (30.5 x 21 cm).
Copyright © The National Gallery, London.

On the Passion of Christ

by Thomas á Kempis

How pleasing and dear to God is that soul, and how fruitful will his meditations be, in which he inwardly suffers the pains of Jesus' passion, is wounded to the heart by His wounds, and by reflecting on his death experiences a love-death with Him...

Most gracious Lord Jesus, I ask you, who in your vast love deigned to pray for your enemies, to pray with that same love for me to the Father that He grant me full pardon for all my sins and mercifully free me from the punishment I deserve for them. Grant me a firm and abiding trust in your love, that I yield not to despair because of the greatness of my sins, rather that I remember that you have come into this world to save sinners and that it was your will to suffer, to be crucified, and to die for the sinful...

Lord, let my soul rejoice in you and find joy in your salvation, as I reflect on your most consoling words, your second utterance from the Cross, "Amen I say to you, this day you will be with me in paradise". May these words, more tender because they came from you as you hung on your Cross, be often on my lips and still more often in my heart. Words addressed to me from the lips of my crucified Lord are most endearing and eloquent, and for this reason they merit more serious attention and profound reflection...

Let meditating on Jesus Christ and Him crucified be your daily prayer. Keep Jesus always before your eyes and keep ever near the foot of His Cross. Whether in life or death, enter the tomb with Jesus so that when Christ, who is your life, shall appear again, you will rise with Him in glory. Amen. +

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Thomas à Kempis, a German monk of the 1400s, was a member of the Canons Regular of Windesheim at Mount St. Agnes for seventy years. He is best known as the author of The Imitation of Christ, after the Bible the most widely read spiritual book in the world. This passage is from On the Passion of Christ According to the Four Evangelists, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004. Translation by Joseph N. Tylenda, SJ. Reprinted with permission of Ignatius Press.

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