Favorite Monks: Thomas à Kempis
Thomas à Kempis
1379 (or 1380) -1471
Author of The Imitation of Christ; Thomas was an Augustinian Monk, and a Disciple of Gerard Groot. Thomas was a member of Groot's Brethren of the Common Life, and a proponent of Groot's teachings, called The Devotio Moderna, of which The Imitation of Christ is the best example. _______________
Have you received Christ as your Lord and Saviour? _________________
Tell others about Jesus like Thomas à Kempis did:
Though not all Christians are called to be Christian Teachers, we are all called by God to share our faith (witness) with those who are not Christians. Some Bible verses that you will find helpful for doing this, and that you may want to commit to memory are found on other pages on our web site (see: Memory Verses; 2nd Set: Salvation!, Plan of Salvation, and Statement of Faith). _________________
By Monk Preston
"Hold fast to Jesus both in life and in death and commit yourself to his steadfast love, for he alone can help you when all others fail. Your beloved is such that he admits no other rival; He wants your heart all to Himself and desires to reign there as a king on his own throne."
-Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ (Book II: Chapter 7)
A German Augustinian Monk
Thomas Hemerken (or Hammerlein, both mean "little hammer"), born in Kempen, Germany, is better known today as Thomas à Kempis (Latin for: Thomas of Kempen).
Thomas à Kempis was a German Augustinian Monk, a disciple of the Dutchman, Gerard Groot. Thomas was a member of The Brethren of the Common Life, who's teachings were known as the Devotio Moderna.
Teachings of Gerard Groot
Thomas had first joined the Brethren of the Common Life, and later followed his older brother into the monastery that the Brethren had founded, which was affiliated with the Augustinian Order.
Gerard Groot was the founder of The Brethren of the Common Life, a Religious Order composed mainly of lay persons who held all possessions in common like those in the early church, hence their name.
Those members who wished to serve God as their full-time occupation could do so by becoming monks and living in one of their monasteries, as Thomas did.
The Brethren of the Common Life
However, The Brethren of the Common Life was a primarily lay religious movement that swept through the low countries in a revival that brought many to Christ.
The Church Hierarchy of the time was not comfortable with the new movement and gave them the option of becoming Augustinian Monks or being declared heretics and being burned at the stake.
The Devotio Moderna
They became Augustinian Monks, effectively ending both the movement and the work of the Holy Spirit. Gerard Groot's teaching, which was a return of the heart to Jesus Christ, was known as The Devotio Moderna.
It is this teaching which has been preserved for us in Thomas' Imitation of Christ. Thomas was the Instructor of the Novices (new monks) in his monastery of Mount St. Agnes, and The Imitation of Christ is believed to be what Thomas taught them in his classes. ______________________________
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