I think there is little doubt that Kempis (1,17) was thinking of Paul’s teaching when he wrote his line about the religious life (1 Cor 3:16-23 — see also chapters one and four of this letter as well as chapter eleven of the second letter; only to the people of Corinth does he give this teaching in Scripture) . I suspect that most folks reading this are not specifically in the vocation of the priesthood or religious life, but we are all meant to live our lives in conforming with our religious beliefs and the (hopefully) well-formed conscience that should come along with that faith.
So we are all to become “fools for Christ.” Worldly “wisdom” tells us that we should not only be okay with sin but that we should embrace it, even laud it. And when we don’t? We are laughed at, verbally abused, shunned, even prosecuted. True wisdom, the first of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (see Is 11:2), acknowledges the truth (my favorite definition of humility). Jesus is the Truth. He established His Church to safeguard that truth (remember yesterday: Mt 16:18). When we are steadfast in acknowledging, living, and spreading this message, we may be considered a fool in this world, but not in God’s eyes. As Paul says, it is then that we truly become wise.
Priests and religious have a special challenge in that they have devoted their entire lives and work to advancing the Kingdom of God. It should not be surprising, then, that they come in for special abuse. But the call to evangelize is meant for all of us (Mt 28:19). Are we willing to boldly be a fool for Christ? Let us pray to the Holy Spirit for the true wisdom to do so.
A God´s Fool Sitting on the Snow (1885) by Vasily Surikov