Question of the Day for Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Thomas à Kempis
Q. I have seen the “Imitation of Christ,” by Thomas à Kempis, advertised as the second-most read and printed Catholic book after the Bible. I have read the story of Thomas à Kempis and notice that there has been no attempt to canonize him since 1688. Can you supply any reason why this great author has never been elevated to sainthood? Surely his book has been of more help than the Ignatian Exercises to Christians seeking piety.
H.G., via email
A. Here’s a reply from TCA columnist Father Ray Ryland, Ph.D., J.D
St. Ignatius was not canonized because he wrote the “Exercises,” but because of who he was. The Church publicly recognizes persons as saints for what they have become, not for what they have accomplished. Thomas à Kempis was a faithful, obscure monk. Yet no evidence has been brought forth to demonstrate that he achieved “heroic sanctity.” The latter term commonly is used by the Church to describe the spirituality of her saints. Certainly, untold millions of persons venerate Thomas à Kempis for having been spiritually nourished and strengthened by reading his famous book.
Courtesy of Our Sunday Visitor: http://www.osv.com/TCANav/TCAQuestionoftheDay/Jan14182013/tabid/8681/Default.aspx