Monk, then Priest, and Writer of The Imitation of Christ
His book, The Imitation of Christ, is one of the most influential handbooks of spiritual devotion ever written. Protestants love this book too.
“If you seek Jesus in all things you will surely find Jesus. And if you seek yourself, you will surely find yourself, but only to your ruin.”
He believed that holiness is more important than learning. He rejected the set of values the world projected. His style of writing was simple and direct. Devoted readers included Thomas More and Ignatius Loyola.
“A humble knowledge of oneself is a surer road to God than a deep searching of the sciences.”
His spiritual formation was in the Brethren of the Common. This society included lay people and religious committed to living the gospel. There were no permanent vows, they shared in all, and supported themselves with simple labor. He later entered a monastery, was professed a monk, and then became a priest.
His life as a priest was unremarkable, but through his writing he tried to show how a life of religious devotion could be lived in the world not just in the monastery or convent. He believed that one must adopt an inner pattern of humility, piety, detachment, and obedience to God and that the spirit behind an activity was always what was most important.
“I would far rather feel contrition than be able to define it.”
Source: All Saints, by Robert Ellsberg