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The Ladder of Divine Ascent (Part 02: The Ladder) by Saint John Klimacus

The Ladder of Divine Ascent (Part 02: The Ladder) by Saint John Klimacus

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Published by: YaHaqq on Jul 12, 2010
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Whenwritingtothe servantsof God,,oneshouldbeginwith ourGod andKing Himself,thegood,thesupremely good,theall-good.Ofall createdand rationalbeings,endowed withthedignity of freewill,some are friendsof God, someare Histrue servants,someareuselesservantscf.Luke17:10),ome areentirelyesuanged,ndthere aresome who,for all theirweakness,ake theirstandagatnsrHim. Wesimple peopleassumehat Hisfriends,O holy Fathei,areproperlyspeakinghose ntelligentand bodilessbeingswho sunoundHim.His trueservantsreall thosewho havedoneand aredoingHiswillwithouthesitationorpause.His uselesservantsare thosewhothinkof themselvess havingbeen worthyof the giftof baptism,buthavenotat all guardedheircovenantwith Him;while, itseems ous, thestrangersromGod, Hisopponents,are theunbelieversorheretics.Hisenemiesare thosewho notonly contraveneand reoudiatethecommandsf the Lord,but maket.ar, *r,againstall whoobeyHim.Each of theabovehashis ownspecialcharacter and isdeservrngoffittinganalysis.Butfor ignorant peopleikeourselves here isnothingobegainedby investigatinghesenow. So,hen, withun-questioningbedienceet us reachout ourunworthyhand o the trueservantsf God,to thosewhodevoutlyurgeus on and n faithcom.pelus by theircommands.et us makea treatise,with thcirknowl.edgees heimplementof writing,apendipped n their rubducdyot
glorioushumility,applied o thesmoothwhite parchmentsf theirhearts,r rather estingon rhe abletsfthespirit. Let us writeonitdivine words,or ratherseeds,r nd etus begin ike this.God is the lifeof all free beings.He is the salvationf all, of be-lieversr unbelievers, f theustor the uniust,ofthe piousor the m-pious,of those reed fromthe passionsr caught up inthem, ofmonksor those ivingin the world,of the educated r thelliterate,ofthe healthyorthesick,of the youngor the veryold. He is like theoutpouringof light, the glimpseof the sun,or the changesftheweather,whichare the same oreveryonewithout exception."ForGod is no respecterf persons"Rom.2: l). An impiousman s a ra-tionalbeing,one that mustdie, who willingly runsaway rom life,and refuseso believe n theexistence f hisown everlastinsCrearor.A transgressorssomeonewho observeshe divine lawo-nly n hisown depravedashionnd holdson to heretical elief nopposition oGod. A Christians an imitatorof Christ n thought,wordand deed,asaras his is humanly possible,nd he believesightly and blame-lessly nthe Holy Trinity. Afriend of God is theone who lives rncommunionwithall that is naturalandfreefrom sin andwho doesnot neglect odowhat goodhecan.Theself-controlled an striveswithallhismight amidst he trials,he snares, nd thenoiseof theworld, tobe like someonewhorisesabove hem. Themonk findshimself n anearthly and defiled body,butpushesimself nto therank andstatusf the ncorporealngels. he monkclingsonly to thecommandments nd wordsofGod in evervseasonnd DIace nd mat-ter. The monk severembattledwith whathe s,and he s theunfail-ing warderofhissenses. he monk hasa body madeholy,atonguepurified,amindenlightened.Asleepor awake, he monk isa soulpainedby the constant emembrancef death.Withdrawalrom theworld is a willinghatredof all that is mrteriallyprized,a denialofnature forthe sakeof what isabovenarure..All this is donebythosewho willingly turn fromthe things ofthis life, either or thesake f the coming kingdom,or becausefthenumberoftheirsins,or on accountof their love of God. Withoutsuch obiectives he denialof the world would makeno sense.Godwhojudgeshecontest standswaiting to seehow itends or the onewho has akenon this race.The man urning away rom theworld in order oshake ff the
L TheDhrrse'orrather seeds"onlv occurs n some text\.
burden of hissinsshould mitatehosewho sitbythetombsoutsidethecity. Let him notdesist rom ardent ragingteers, rom theword-lessmoansof the heart,until he seesesusHimself comingto rollback he rockof hardness2ff him.to free he mind. thatLazarus fours,romthe bondsofsin,osay o His ministeringangels, Loosehim from his passionsnd et hirn goto blessedispassion."3f it isnot done hus,hen t isallfornothing.Thoseof us who wish ro getaway from Egypt,to escape romPharaoh,eedsomeMoses o be our intermediarywith God, ostandbetweenactionand contemplation,nd stretchouthisarms o God,thatthose ed by him maycross he seaof sin andputto flight theAmalek of the passions.ahose who havegiventhemselvesp to Godbut imagine hatthey cangoforwardwithout a leaderare surelyde-ceiving themselves.he fugitivesfrom Egypt hadMoses,while thoseescaping romSodom had an angel foraleader.The formerarelikethosewho heal he passionsf thesoulby the careofdoctors;hcyarethe oneswhohavecome out of Egypt.The latter longto shed he un-cleannessf the wretchedbody, for which reason heyneed an angelor the help of some ikebeing.We must havesomeone ery skilled,adoctor, orour septicwounds.Violencecf.Matt. I l:12)and unendingpainarehe lotof thosewho aim toascend o heavenwiththe body, and thisespeciallyat theearly stages f theenterprise,when our pleasure-lovingispositionand our unfeelingheartsmust travelthrough overwhelminggrieftoward the loveof God and holiness.t is hard, truly hard.There hastobe an abundance f invisiblebitterness, speciallyorthe carelessuntil our mind, that cur sniffingaround he meatmarketand revel-ling inthe uproar, isbrought through simplicity,deep reedom fromanger and diligenceo a love of holinessandguidance.Yet fullofpas-
2. GKpororcos.ader'sext has2yroreor,of burning."3. Throughout this work"dispassion"ransl^tes heGk apatheia. orSt.JohnCli-macusdispassion s the denial of the passions,ot merely ina negativeway by asceticdiscipline,but by redirecting the natural impulsesof the souland body toward theirpr()pergorl. See he Preface, .32.4.Johns referring o Exod.Trll-11 end epplying o itanallegoricalnterpreta-tion. In thebattle against he Amelelires(thepassions) heIsraelitessoulsunder aspiriturl director) revailedsongas he armsof Mosestheguide)wereheldaisednprayerby Hur(action)n one sideand Aaron(conremplstion)n the other.Acrirrn(rtdrir)s heascetic truggleopracticehe virtuesndovercomeheprssion$.r ii rhcncccssaryoundetion orcontemplationtrcolia),r,hichs the direcr l4rrchcrr rr rvisionof(irdby ihe ntellect.

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