De Imitatione Christi (On the Imitation of Christ)
Taken from Medulla S. Thomae Aquinatis which arranges various short texts from St. Thomas Aquinas' corpus based on the liturgical year. I will be posting the day's meditation each day and will be bringing it into print once I'm through it.
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On the Imitation of Christ
For I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also. (John 13:15)
I. When we are dealing with the conduct of people, example has more influence than words. A person chooses and does what seems good to him, and so what one chooses is a better indication of what is good than what one teaches should be chosen. This is why when someone says one thing and does another, what he does has more influence on others than what he has taught. Thus it is especially necessary to give example by one’s actions.
Now the example of a mere human being would not be adequate for the entire human race to imitate, both because human reason cannot take everything into account, and it does err in what it does take into account.