Philokalia

Philokalia

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Thoughts on Reading the Ladder of Divine Ascent

Reflecting on tonight's group at the Oratory, I have to say that The Ladder of Divine Ascent by St. John Climacus is the most remarkable of spiritual treatises. The clarity of insight it offers is unmatched and I can understand why it is revered among Eastern Christians. It has been 25 years since I was first introduced to the work and there is still even now a temptation when reading it to set it aside. A kind of resistance wells up within me as I begin to realize that if I continue to read the way I view my life will never be the same - the way I live my life must never be the same. The call to radical conversion takes hold as St. John begins with the skill of a surgeon and the eloquence of a poet to uncover every hidden sin and reveal the beauty of each virtue. I find myself wrapped in confusion wondering why and how I could let anything other than seeking Christ and the Kingdom become the focus of my attention. God grant me the grace that with St. John as my guide to lose myself in the desire for You.

Dweller of the desert and angel in the body,
You were shown to be a wonder-worker, our God-bearing Father John.
You received heavenly gifts through fasting, vigil, and prayer:
Healing the sick and the souls of those drawn to you by faith.
Glory to Him who gave you strength!
Glory to Him who granted you a crown!
Glory to Him who through you grants healing to all!