Saturday, March 21, 2015

Selected quotes from the Ladder of Divine Ascent

Saint John Climacus

Fresco in the Holy Trinity Church at
Saint John the Baptist Monastery
- It is better to grieve our parents than the Lord. For He has created and saved us, but they have often ruined their loved ones and delivered them up to their doom.
- Repentance is the renewal of baptism. Repentance is a contract with God for a second life.
- A penitent is a buyer of humility.
- Before our fall, the demons say that God is a friend of man; but after the fall, that He is inexorable.
- Some inquire and wonder: “why, when remembrance of death is so beneficial for us, has God hidden from us the knowledge of the hour of death?” – Not knowing that in this way God wonderfully accomplishes our salvation.
- Do not wish to assure everyone in word of your love for them, but rather ask God to show them your love without words.
- The beginning of freedom from anger is silence of the lips when the heart is agitated; the middle is silence of the thoughts when there is a mere disturbance of soul; and the end is an imperturbable calm under the breadth of unclean winds.
- As with the appearance of light, darkness retreats, so at the fragrance of humility, all anger and bitterness vanishes.

- Do not regard the feelings of a person who speaks to you about his neighbor disparagingly, but rather say to him: “Stop, brother! I fall into graver sins every day, so how can I criticize him?” In this way you will achieve two things: you will heal yourself and your neighbor with one plaster. This is one of the shortest ways to forgiveness of sins; I mean not to judge: “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged”.
- To judge others is a shameless arrogation of the Divine prerogative; to condemn is the ruin of one’s soul.
- Do not condemn, even if you see with your eyes, for they are often deceived.
- The friend of silence draws near to God and, by secretly conversing with Him, is enlightened by God.
- By stinting the stomach, the heart is humbled; by pleasing the stomach, the mind becomes proud.
- Offer to the Lord the weakness of your nature, fully acknowledging your own powerlessness, and imperceptibly you will receive the gift of chastity.
- Do not say you are collecting money for the poor; with two mites the Kingdom of heaven was purchased.
- Waves never leave the sea, nor do anger and the grief leave the avaricious.
- Cowardice is a childish disposition in an odd, vainglorious soul. Cowardice is falling away from faith that comes of expecting the unexpected.
- A vainglorious person is a believing idolater; he apparently honours God, but he wants to please not God but men.
- Vainglory makes those who are preferred, proud, and those who are slighted, resentful.
- An angel fell from Heaven without any other passion except pride, and so we may ask whether it is possible to ascend to Heaven by humility alone without any other of the virtues
- As a ship which has a good helmsman comes safely into harbor with God’s help, so the soul which has a good shepherd, even though it has done much evil, easily ascends to Heaven.
- As a ray of sun, passing through a crack, lights everything in the house and shows up even the finest dust, so the fear of the Lord, entering a man’s heart, reveals to him all his sins.
- Love, by reason of its nature, is resemblance to God, as far as that is possible for mortals; in its activity it is inebriation of the soul; and by its distinctive property it is a fountain of faith, and abyss of patience, a sea of humility.
- A non-possessive man is pure during prayer, but an acquisitive man prays to material images.