I would caution anyone reading these books such as Philokalia, St.Thomas A Kempis (He’s a saint in my eyes).
We all want spiritual direction and in the times that are so difficult these books can be extremely helpful but also harmful to anyone picking them up without some kind of spiritual direction when reading them.
There are many advices that are for monks and priests in these books not for the laity living in the world. It’s important to be able to know which texts are for who and which are for laity etc.
Imitations of Christ was my first book and I loved it. I read it every day before the Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament but we need to also be a little careful in how we apply it to our daily lives.
Same with philokalia although this came much later than St.Thomas. For example if you’re married you need to know that locking yourself in your room all day and praying is out of the question. You have kids to bring up and a wife to please. Obeying all that kind of advice will spiritually ruin you.
Therefore look to recognize what you can use and apply in your current state and vocation.
I have had this blog two years now and was thinking of adding a profile photo of what I look like in my about page but still unsure. However I thought I would share with you this photo of me. It is the last “rock’n’roll” photo taken of me just before my conversion. I am pretty sure during the taking of this photo the imitations of Christ book was in my pocket as I was reading that when not in the photography shop owned by my brother. I used to walk in to the Church next to the photography shop my brother owned and would sit and read Thomas a Kempis book “Imitations of Christ”. I couldn’t put it down and read it from back to front.
I had just arrived home from another country I spent some time in and I was kind of in the twilight zone with no job and no musical prospects and there was other stuff going on that I will leave out for now but suffice it to say I was as blank as a sheet of paper and fed up of my life. Whilst in the other country, I had begun to show interest in Christianity and would pray the rosary my dad sent me. I also read back to front Anthony de mellos spiritual classic “awareness”. Having come home to Ireland I was kinda lost and I began going to church, a few days after this photo was taken I ran into true life in God messages, I began to go to Mass, adoration, confession and I had a wonderful experience with the tlig messages, so much so that it would be too much for some of my readers to understand so I will keep that with me.
All of that took place in January 2008. I was 23 years old. In the picture you will see I am just out of bed…literally…and that the hairstyle isn’t really done like that on purpose. When I look at this photo today or even just now as I type, I see the old me before my conversion to the Catholic faith. My messy physical appearance pretty much reflects my soul appearance of the time, messy and out of order. Some would argue I still am like that messy and out of order haha.
A lot of things happened after my conversion. All the friends I had disappeared. All the people I used to know and hang out with are gone. Some stayed but through time disappeared as well. I guess that’s the price we pay for being Christian. Whenever I sit and moan about not having any friends to Jesus, I hear a little humorous voice echo back from the tabernacle ” Stephen, you are Christian, your not supposed to have any friends” haha and I look at the Cross and see that Jesus was abandoned by his friends too and I know it all makes sense.
Well…..there I was and now here I am.
Thanks or reading and God bless
Tags: Anthony de mello, awareness, Church, Domestic Monk, imitations of Christ, music, rock, roll, Rosary, Thomas a Kempis, True Life In God