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Forums => Book Study => Topic started by: Shin on May 27, 2015, 04:18:53 PM

Title: Extracts from The Ladder of Divine Ascent
Post by: Shin on May 27, 2015, 04:18:53 PM
Here are some samples from that work for folks. . .

Concerning unmentionable blasphemous thoughts

We have heard that from a troublesome root and mother comes a most troublesome offspring; that is to say, unspeakable blasphemy is born from foul pride. So it is necessary to bring it into the open, for it is no ordinary creature, but the most cruel of all our foes and enemies. And what is still worse, it is difficult to put into words, to confess, or to expose these thoughts to a spiritual physician. And so this unholy disease has produced frustration and despair in many, destroying all their hope like a worm in a tree.

During the divine services, and at the very moment when the Mysteries are being accomplished, this vile enemy often blasphemes the Lord and the holy Sacrifice that is being consecrated. Wherefore, we clearly learn that it is not our soul that pronounces these unspeakable, godless, and unthinkable words within us, but the God-hating fiend who fled from Heaven for uttering blasphemies against the Lord there too, as it would seem. For if these shameless and disgraceful words are my own, how could I worship after receiving the Gift? How can I praise and revile at one and the same time?

The deceiver and corrupter of souls has often driven many out of their mind. No other thought is so difficult to tell in confession as this. That is why it often remains with many to the very end of their lives. For nothing gives the demons and bad thoughts such power over us as hiding them in our heart unconfessed.

No one in the face of blasphemous thoughts need think that the guilt lies within him, for the Lord is the Knower of hearts, and He is aware that such words and thoughts do not come from us but our foes.

On meekness, simplicity, and guilelessness which comes not from nature but from conscious effort, and about guile

The morning light precedes the sun, and the precursor of all humility is meekness. Therefore, let us hear in what order the Light arranges these virtues, for He says: Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble in heart. So then, before looking at the sun, we must be illumined by the light, and then we can look with a clear gaze at the sun. For it is impossible, absolutely impossible, to gaze upon the sun before we have experienced that light, as the true order of the aforementioned virtues teaches us.

Meekness is an unchangeable state of mind, which remains the same in honour and dishonour.

Meekness consists in praying calmly and sincerely for a neighbor when he causes many turmoils.

Meekness is a rock overlooking the sea of anger, which breaks all the waves that dash against it, yet remains completely unmoved.

Meekness is the buttress of patience, the door, or rather, the mother of love, and the foundation of discernment, for it is said: The Lord will teach the meek His ways. It prepares us for the forgiveness of sins; it is boldness in prayer; an abode of the Holy Spirit. But to whom shall I look? Even to him that is meek and quiet.

Title: Re: Extracts from The Ladder of Divine Ascent
Post by: Shin on May 27, 2015, 04:20:51 PM
And some further quotes from St. John Climacus:

'If knowledge can cause most people to become vain, perhaps ignorance and lack of learning can make them humble. Yet now and then you do find men who pride themselves on their ignorance.'

St. John Climacus

'Someone who is elated with wine speaks the truth on all subjects, even without meaning to. In the same way, anyone who is inebriated with the spirit of penitence will never be able to tell lies.'

St. John Climacus

'Repentance is the renewal of baptism. Repentance is a contract with God for a second life. A penitent is a buyer of humility. Repentance is constant distrust of bodily comfort. Repentance is self-condemning reflection, and carefree self-care. Repentance is the daughter of hope and the renunciation of despair. A penitent is an undisgraced convict. Repentance is reconciliation with the Lord by the practice of good deeds contrary to the sins. Repentance is purification of conscience. Repentance is the voluntary endurance of all afflictions. A penitent is the inflicter of his own punishments. Repentance is a mighty persecution of the stomach, and a striking of the soul into vigorous awareness.'

St. John Climacus

Title: Re: Extracts from The Ladder of Divine Ascent
Post by: whiterockdove on June 03, 2015, 12:59:33 AM
So there is an inverse relationship between a full belly and an alert soul; kind of like wanting to nap after a big meal!

Title: Re: Extracts from The Ladder of Divine Ascent
Post by: Shin on June 03, 2015, 08:25:51 PM
Now that's a fine way to put it!   ;D