Coming to Jesus: Lessons from Ludolph

Coming to Jesus: Lessons from Ludolph August 12, 2022

“This is a blessed, well-irrigated way of life. … To live like this is sweet and lovely.”

I fall back to the Prologue of Ludolph’s Life of Christ for today’s reflection. Here he gives an apology for this meaty writing, an explanation of its benefits. “Let us hasten to live in a way worthy of God.” Here are his seven arguments for the advantages of meditating on the life of Christ:

  • Forgiveness: “When we judge ourselves, accuse ourselves in confession, and freely undertake penance, we are already delivered in no small measure from the squalor of sin.” To know ourselves guilty is the first step out of guilt.
  • Enlightenment: “Those who are illumined by this light learn to set proper priorities, giving themselves first to Christ and then to godly concerns: their own, their neighbor’s, and those of the world.” Who does not need more clarity, more wisdom about “proper priorities”?
  • The gift of tears: “These are so necessary for a sinner in this miserable valley. Christ … customarily gives these tears to one who stays close to him.” The Psalmist pleads, “Oh that today if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart.” The hardness of our hearts drives us to rebellion.
  • Renewal: “After the sinful lapses of daily life…the Lord always lifts up those who cling to him.” Each night, we examine our souls, accept the realities of the “sinful lapses,” and find renewal in Jesus.
  • Sweetness: “This practice holds a sweet and longed-for taste for those who follow it.” Sweeter than honey. In meditating on Jesus, we taste him, and it is good.
  • Knowledge: “The knowledge of the Father’s majesty … can be had only through Christ.” Jesus himself taught those who followed him, “No one comes to the Father but through me.” The question is, do you want a heavenly Father?
  • Deliverance: “It offers sure deliverance from this world’s dangers…what they longed for and grew accustomed to here below they will enjoy forever: life with Christ.” In Julian’s Revelations, Jesus says to her, “I am your reward.”

“This is a blessed, well-irrigated way of life. … To live like this is sweet and lovely.”

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