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We note, in an extraordinary way, how -- during the Church-approved apparitions in Kibeho, Rwanda (in Africa) -- the Blessed Mother reportedly advised one of the visionaries to find a copy of the classic mystical book, Imitation of Christ, open it to a random page, and each time plant the first words she read "deeply into her heart." What an idea for devotion this is!

Open it randomly. Read. Digest. Live it out.

This was stated to seer Anathalie Mukamazimpaka, who was told to make a practice of it.

The book -- a classic written by a monk named Thomas á Kempis (and published around 1412) -- affected even saints like St. Ignatius Loyola.  It is said to be the most widely-translated book in Christian literature after the Bible. Perhaps we will make a practice out of turning to random pages each week. We recall that the famed Curé d'Ars (St. John Vianney) was said never to go anywhere without it. We are told in the first page of Imitation that we happened to turn to, how we should let the "sorrow for sins" be done in our "secret chambers."

We have written before of how important it is to breathe spiritual air -- and purity -- into the secret chambers of our hearts, which has walls that are impenetrable. This is your deepest you.

"In your chamber you shall find great grace that you may lose easily outside," the monk wrote -- amid his dialogues with Jesus. "If your chamber is faithfully dwelt in, it will grow sweet and pleasant to you and will be a very dear friend for the future.

"If in the beginning you are often in your chamber -- and continue there in prayer and holy meditations -- it will be afterward a most particular friend, and one of your most special comforts.

"In silence and quietness of heart, a devout soul profits much and learns the hidden meaning of Scripture -- and finds there many sweet tears of devotion as well, with which every night the soul washes itself mightily from all sin, that it may be the more familiar with God -- to the degree that it is separated from the clamorous noise of worldly business. Therefore, Our Lord and His angels will draw near and abide with those who, for the love of virtue, withdraw themselves from their acquaintances and from their worldly friends.

"It is better that a man be solitary and take good heed of himself than that, forgetting himself, he perform miracles in the world. It is also laudable in a religious person seldom to go abroad, seldom to see others, and seldom to be seen by others.

"Shut fast the door of your soul -- that is to say, your imagination -- and keep it cautiously, as much as you can, from beholding any earthly thing, and then lift up your mind to your Lord, Jesus; open your heart faithfully to Him, and abide with Him in your chamber, for you shall not find so much peace outside."

The "secret chamber" we can put another way: as an immensely fortified spiritual vault that fashioned with the strongest steel and most precious of metals and most intricate artwork of Heaven. It is built in meditation. It is built with prayer. Its steel is faith.

Build this place; go to it for solace (especially during Lent). Spend long periods in it in prayer.

Let nothing disturb you there.

Let nothing there rob you of joy. Build it. Pray deeply in it.

It is the true place of safety and the place of communion and your truest refuge no matter what transpires in the world.

[resources: The Imitation of Christ and Our Lady of Kibeho]

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