3in1 Christian Classics Collection #01: The Imitation of Christ; Practice the Presence of God; Interior Castle (Unabridged, Mp3)
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THOMAS A'KEMPIS (1380-1471) was a Dutch priest, monk, and writer born in Kempen, Germany. He attended a school near Deventer in Holland. Thomas of Kempen, as he was known at school, was so impressed by his teachers that he decided to live his own life according to their ideals. When he was 19, he entered the monastery of Mount St. Agnes and spent the rest of his long life behind the walls of that monastery. Thomas wrote a number of sermons, letters, hymns, and lives of the saints. The most famous of his works, by far, is The Imitation of Christ, a charming instruction on how to love God. The Imitation of Christ has come to be, after the Bible, the most widely translated book in Christian literature.
Brother Lawrence(c. 1611 ndash; 1691) was born Nicholas Herman in the Lorraine region of France. As a young man, he fought in the Thirty Yearsrsquo; War before joining the Carmelite order in Paris as a monk at the age of 24.The Practice of the Presence of Godwas originally compiled from his letters and conversations, immediately after his death.Jonathan Wilson-Hartgroveis the author ofNew Monasticism, and forthcoming from Paraclete Press:The Wisdom of Stability.
At the age of seven, Teresa ran away from her home in Avila, hoping to be martyred at the hands of the Moors. As a teen, she secretly enjoyed reading novels of chivalry. Taught by Augustinian nuns, Teresa acquired a sense of religious vocation only gradually. Deciding to become a nun, she professed as a Carmelite of Avila in 1537. Although she became ill to the point of having wax applied to her eyes in preparation of death, she did not die, but she did leave the convent. Teresa later returned to the convent and, upon reading St. Augustine's Confessions, experienced a conversion at the age of 40. When she experienced visions and heard voices, she wondered at first if it was the work of the devil. She found comfort in Peter of Alcantara's assessment that her experiences were of a divine origin. Life as a Carmelite nun tended to be comfortable, but not dissolute. Inspired by her mystical experiences, Teresa took practical steps to reform the Carmelite order. In 1562 she founded a convent with a stricter regime of discipline than was common. She also organized a Discalced Carmelite monastery for men. In doing so, she met Juan de Yepes y Alvarez, known to us as the mystic St. John of the Cross, who became a fellow reformer. In all, she founded 16 reformed convents. Teresa's spirituality cannot be characterized in a word, but humility rather than honor was at its center. Her life of contemplation led to active service. Upon her death in 1582, her body remained preserved. This, along with other signs of saintliness, led to her canonization in 1622. In 1970, she was declared a "Doctor of the Church," the first woman in the history of the Catholic church to receive that honor. Her books, which include her autobiography, The Life of Teresa of Jesus, and her seminal work, The Interior Castle, are an integral part of Spanish Renaissance literature, as well as Christian mysticism and Christian meditation practice.