My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
THE LADDER OF DIVINE ASCENT (Part II)
Author: Saint John Climacus
QUOTATIONS FROM THE 30
Step 11. On Talkativeness and Silence
TALKATIVENESS is the throne of vainglory on which it loves to preen itself and show off. Talkativeness is A SIGN OF IGNORANCE, a doorway to slander, a leader of jesting, a servant of lies, the ruin of compunction, a summoner of despondency, a messenger of deep, a dissipation of recollection, the end of vigilance, the cooling of zeal, the darkening of prayer.
INTELLIGENT SILENCE IS the MOTHER OF PRAYER, FREEDOM FROM BONDAGE, CUSTODIAN OF ZEAL, A GUARD ON OUR THOUGHTS, A WATCH ON OUR ENEMIES, A PRISON OF MOURNING, A FRIEND OF TEARS, A SURE RECOLLECTION OF ANGUISH…a growth of knowledge, a hand to shape contemplation, hidden progress, the secret journey upward…
Step 12. On Falsehood
HYPOCRISY is the mother of lying and frequently its cause. Some would argue that hypocrisy is nothing other than a meditation on falsehood, that is the inventor of falsehood laced with lies…Only when we are completely free of THE URGE TO LIE may we resort to it, and then only in fear and out of necessity. A baby does not know how to lie, and NEITHER DOES A SOUL CLEANSED OF EVIL.
Step 13. On Despondency
Despondency or TEDIUM of the spirit. Tedium is a paralysis of the soul, a slackness of the mind, a neglect of religious exercises, a hostility to vows taken…Tedium is one of THE EIGHT DEADLY VICES.
Step 14. On Gluttony
Gluttony IS HYPOCRISY OF THE STOMACH…Gluttony thinks up seasonings, creates sweet recipes. A stuffed belly produces fornication, while a mortified stomach leads to purity. The man who pets a lion may tame it but the man who coddles the body makes it ravenous…
Control your appetites before they control you, and shame will greatly help you to maintain such mastery…
FASTING makes for purity of prayer, an enlightened soul, a watchful mind, a deliverance from blindness. Fasting is the door of compunction, humble sighing, joyful contrition, and end to chatter, an occasion for silence, a custodian of obedience, a lightening of sleep, the health of the body, an agent of dispassion, a remission of sins, the gate, indeed, the delight of Paradise…"
Step 15. On Chastity
To be CHASTE is to put on the nature of an incorporeal being. CHASTITY is a supernatural denial of what one is by nature so that a mortal and corruptible body is competing in a truly marvelous way with incorporeal spirits. A chaste man is SOMEONE WHO HAS DRIVEN OUT BODILY LOVE BY MEANS OF DIVINE LOVE, WHO HAS USED HEAVENLY FIRE TO QUENCH THE FIRES OF THE FLESH…"
Step 16. On Avarice
AVARICE is a worship of idols and is the offspring of unbelief. It makes excuses for infirmity and is the mouthpiece of old age. It is the prophet of hunger and the herald of drought…The MISER sneers at the Gospel and is a deliberate transgressor. The MAN OF CHARITY spreads his money about him, but THE MAN WHO CLAIMS TO POSSESS BOTH CHARITY AND MONEY IS A SELF-DECEIVED FOOL.
Step 17. On Poverty
A man who has EMBRACED POVERTY offers up a prayer that is pure, while a man who loves possessions prays to material images…Avarice is said to be THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL (1 Timothy 6:10) and it is so because it causes hatred, theft, envy, separations, hostility, stormy blasts, remembrance of past wrongs, inhuman acts, and even murder. "
Step 18. On Insensitivity
INSENSITIVITY IS DEADENING FEELING IN BODY AND SPIRIT and comes from long sickness and carelessness…The insensitive man is a foolish philosopher, an exegete condemned by his own words, a scholar, He talks about healing a wound and does not stop making it worse…He prays against it but carries on as before…He talks profoundly about death and acts as if he will never die. He groans over the separation of soul and body, and yet lives in a state of somnolence as if he were eternal…"
Step 19. On Sleep, Prayer, and the Singing in Church of Psalms
SLEEP is a natural state. It is also AN IMAGE OF DEATH and a respite of the senses…However, the man who considers with a sensitivity of heart that he is standing before God will be an immovable pillar in prayer, and more of the demons mentioned above will delude him…When chanting hymns with others it may be impossible to pray with the wordless prayer of the spirit…"
Step 20. On Alertness
ALERTNESS keeps the mind clean. Somnolence binds the soul. The ALERT PERSON does battle with fornication, but the sleepy one goes to live with it. ALERTNESS is a quenching of lust, deliverance from fantasies in dreams, a tearful eye, a heart made soft and gentle, thoughts restrained, food digested, passions tamed, spirits subdued, tongue controlled, idle imaginings banished.
Such then is the twentieth step. He who has climbed it has received light in his heart. (Source: John Climacus. The Ladder of Divine Ascent)
(To be continued)
"Glory Be To GOD
Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sinicere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George