The Imitation of Christ by Thomas À Kempis needs no introduction. For more than five centuries it has been the most popular spiritual book second only to the Sacred Scriptures. It presents the fundamental principles of the spiritual life. The Christian soul is invited to follow Christ Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. As we study its contents we are convinced that without that Way there is no going, without that Truth there is no knowing, without that Life there is no real living.
This book has been an integral part of the spiritual reading of the saints ever since it first appeared anonymously in 1418. It is not uncommon to read of saints whose whole library consisted of the Bible, the liturgical books and the Imitation; and its popularity extends even to the Protestant world. The author of this remarkable work, Thomas à Kempis, was born in Kempen, in the Diocese of Cologne, in 1379 or 1380. In 1399, he joined the Canons Regular of Windesheim, where he remained until his death in 1471, twice being elected subprior.
This translation by Bishop Challoner, who revised the Douay-Rheims Bible in the 1740’s, is the most beautiful and edifying available. The Imitation of Christ speaks to the soul of every Christian, reminding him of the brevity of earthly joy compared to the eternity of happiness with God. This spiritual classic belongs to every Christian library.
The Imitation of Christ translated from the original Latin by the Right Rev. Richard Challoner, D.D. This edition has been re-typeset using the text of the 1893 edition originally published by Desclée, Lefebbre & Co., Belgium, with an Imprimatur by G. F. J. Bouvry Vic. Gen., Tournai, 28th September 1893.