On Conformity to the Life of Jesus Christ

We must imitate Jesus; live as He lived, think as He thought, and be conformed to his image, which is the seal of our sanctification.

Jesus Christ was born in a stable; he was obliged to fly into Egypt; thirty years of his life were spent in a workshop; he suffered hunger, thirst, and weariness; he was poor,  despised and miserable; he taught the doctrines of Heaven, and no one would listen. The great and the wise persecuted him, subjected him to frightful torments, treated him as a slave and put him to death.

Such was the life which our Lord chose; while we are horrified at any kind of humiliation, and cannot bear the slightest appearance of contempt.

Let us compare our lives with that of Jesus Christ, reflecting that he was the Master and that we are the servants; that He was all-powerful, and that we are but weakness. Let us begin to walk in the path which our Saviour has marked out, for it is the only one that can lead us to Him.

And how can we expect to find Jesus if we do not seek Him in the states of his earthly life, in loneliness and silence, in poverty and suffering. The saints find him in heaven, in the splendors of glory and in unspeakable pleasures; but it is only after having dwelt with Him on earth in reproaches, in pain and in humiliation.

To be a Christian is to be an imitator of Jesus Christ.

In what can we imitate Him if not in his humiliation? Nothing else can bring us near to Him. We may adore him as Omnipotent, fear him as just, love him with all our heart as good and merciful,—but we can only imitate him as humble, submissive, poor and despised.

Let me follow in thy footsteps, O Jesus! I would imitate Thee, but cannot without the aid of thy grace! O humble and lowly Saviour, grant me the knowledge of the true Christian; let me learn the lesson, that I must die to myself by an abandonment that shall produce true humility.

O lovely Jesus! who hast suffered so many injuries and reproaches for my sake, let me esteem and love them for thine, and let me desire to share thy life of humiliation!

The Inner Life – Francois Fenelon


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