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WITH A PRAYER


Imitatio Christi.
Paris: Philippe Pigouchet, 15 July 1492.

The woodcut that introduces this Paris edition of the Imitatio Christi shows Christ on the Cross surrounded by his mournful followers (on the left) and the Roman soldiers (on the right), including the centurion who recognized Christ’s divinity at the moment of death.

In the space provided in the woodcut for an inscription, a fifteenth-century reader has written, “In cruce pendentem rogo te deum omnipotentem. Ut michi des mentem, te semper amare volentem” (“As you hang on the Cross, Almighty God, I beseech thee, grant me the courage to love thee willingly always”). The recital of this fourteenth-century prayer, attributed to Pope John XXII, earned the pious reader an indulgence from the church.