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A work of spiritual devotion, also sometimes called the "Following of Christ". Its purpose is to instruct the soul in Christian perfection with Christ as the Divine Model. It consists of a series of counsels of perfection written in Latin in a familiar and even colloquial style, and is divided into four parts or books:

  • Useful admonitions for a spiritual life,
  • Admonitions concerning spiritual things;
  • Of interior consolation;
  • Of the Blessed Sacrament.
  • With the exception of the Bible , it is perhaps the most widely read spiritual book in the world. It was first published anonymously in A.D. 1418. Its authorship has been disputed, being attributed to various spiritual writers: St. Bernard, St. Bonaventure , Innocent III, Henry of Kalkar, John à Kempis, Walter Hilton, Jean Charlier de Gerson, and Giovanni Gersen. The claim of Thomas à Kempis has been completely vindicated in recent years. For details as regards the authorship and the nature of the work itself see THOMAS À KEMPIS.


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    The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

    Catholic Encyclopedia

    Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

    No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

    Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

    Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online

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