counter create hit John Climacus: The Ladder of Divine Ascent (The Classics of Western Spirituality) - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

John Climacus: The Ladder of Divine Ascent (The Classics of Western Spirituality)

Availability: Ready to download

This series is a testimony to the Spirit breathing where He wills." America John Climacus: The Ladder of Divine Ascent edited and translated by Colm Luibheid and Norman Russell notes on translation by Norman Russell, preface by Kallistos Ware "Prayer is the mother and daughter of tears. It is an expiation of sin, a bridge across temptation, a bulwark against affliction. It This series is a testimony to the Spirit breathing where He wills." America John Climacus: The Ladder of Divine Ascent edited and translated by Colm Luibheid and Norman Russell notes on translation by Norman Russell, preface by Kallistos Ware "Prayer is the mother and daughter of tears. It is an expiation of sin, a bridge across temptation, a bulwark against affliction. It wipes out conflict, is the work of angels, and is the nourishment of everything spiritual." John Climacus (c. 579-649) The Ladder of Divine Ascent was the most widely used handbook of the ascetic life in the ancient Greek Church. Popular among both lay and monastics, it was translated into Latin, Syriac, Arabic, Armenian, Old Slavonic, and many modern languages. It was written while the author (who received his surname from this book) was abbot of the monastery of Catherine on Mount Sinai. As reflected in the title, the ascetical life is portrayed as a ladder which each aspirant must ascend, each step being a virtue to be acquired, or a vice to be surrendered. Its thirty steps reflect the hidden life of Christ himself. This work had a fundamental influence in the particularly the Hesychastic, Jesus Prayer, or Prayer of the Heart movement. Pierre Pourrat in his History of Christian Spirituality calls John Climacus the "most important ascetical theologian of the East, at this epoch, who enjoyed a great reputation and exercised and important influence on future centuries.


Compare
Ads Banner

This series is a testimony to the Spirit breathing where He wills." America John Climacus: The Ladder of Divine Ascent edited and translated by Colm Luibheid and Norman Russell notes on translation by Norman Russell, preface by Kallistos Ware "Prayer is the mother and daughter of tears. It is an expiation of sin, a bridge across temptation, a bulwark against affliction. It This series is a testimony to the Spirit breathing where He wills." America John Climacus: The Ladder of Divine Ascent edited and translated by Colm Luibheid and Norman Russell notes on translation by Norman Russell, preface by Kallistos Ware "Prayer is the mother and daughter of tears. It is an expiation of sin, a bridge across temptation, a bulwark against affliction. It wipes out conflict, is the work of angels, and is the nourishment of everything spiritual." John Climacus (c. 579-649) The Ladder of Divine Ascent was the most widely used handbook of the ascetic life in the ancient Greek Church. Popular among both lay and monastics, it was translated into Latin, Syriac, Arabic, Armenian, Old Slavonic, and many modern languages. It was written while the author (who received his surname from this book) was abbot of the monastery of Catherine on Mount Sinai. As reflected in the title, the ascetical life is portrayed as a ladder which each aspirant must ascend, each step being a virtue to be acquired, or a vice to be surrendered. Its thirty steps reflect the hidden life of Christ himself. This work had a fundamental influence in the particularly the Hesychastic, Jesus Prayer, or Prayer of the Heart movement. Pierre Pourrat in his History of Christian Spirituality calls John Climacus the "most important ascetical theologian of the East, at this epoch, who enjoyed a great reputation and exercised and important influence on future centuries.

30 review for John Climacus: The Ladder of Divine Ascent (The Classics of Western Spirituality)

  1. 5 out of 5

    7jane

    This book (the third English translation) offers an image of ladder as a way of ascetical life. It's true that it's aimed at monks, people that join a monastery like one on Mount Athos, but quite a few points work well even for us who are not these people. I'm not sure if I've read this before, but reading it was worth it. The number of ladders gives a nod to the number of years Jesus was when he began his preaching (30). The introduction talks about the author and his background, about the ladde This book (the third English translation) offers an image of ladder as a way of ascetical life. It's true that it's aimed at monks, people that join a monastery like one on Mount Athos, but quite a few points work well even for us who are not these people. I'm not sure if I've read this before, but reading it was worth it. The number of ladders gives a nod to the number of years Jesus was when he began his preaching (30). The introduction talks about the author and his background, about the ladder itself and it's text-structure, explores some themes, and lists some sources and influences on future audiences. It's good to read this first, because it clears the plot well. This book is an Orthodox classic, often read at Lent in monasteries. The author lived in a monastery in Sinai, around 7th century, with at least one long visit to a monastery in Alexandria (the description of the 'Prison' for unruly monks in this place is a bit shocking, but don't let it put you off). It's a case of body vs. mind, and the purpose is to help a person to see both perils and good ways on the road to perfection. Some later steps are of persons who have advanced quite far on their monk's life, but it's not talked in a way that those who are not yet there would lose their courage and think they would never achieve it - it takes time and work, but doesn't feel impossible. The author shows us the three ways within: at the monastery, in a smaller group with a leader, and the solitary life. The solitary life is not for the beginner, for it is mentally hard and demanding, and easy to do wrong if done too early or for wrong reasons. It's better to live a group or monastery life for years first. The text is not without some humor; in the 'Stillness' chapter, for example: "The cat keeps hold of the mouse. The thought of the hesychast keeps hold of his spiritual mouse. Do not mock this analogy. Indeed, if you do, it shows you still do not understand the meaning of stillness." And you do have to realise that although these steps go from 1 to 30, one may end up using some steps again, especially when not yet advanced in experience and years. This is a book not for fast reading, read and then forgotten. It is for pondering, to find inspiration and motivation. It holds more than might first appear. So for monks and non-monks this is a treasure - easy to see why the reading-aloud tradition uses this book. This is a book of quiet greatness.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas

    A wonderful read during the Lenten season as John Climacus guides monastics on their ladder of theosis.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Burden

    In the Western Christian tradition (Roman Catholicism and Protestantism), there are a small handful of classic books that have radically shaped the way we perceive the Christian life--and this is true for you even if you haven't read them. Our Christian culture and self-understanding has been deeply shaped by Augustine's Confessions and City of God, and, if you're an evangelical, by Pilgrim's Progress. The Eastern Christian tradition, however, was largely shaped by other works, and these have pl In the Western Christian tradition (Roman Catholicism and Protestantism), there are a small handful of classic books that have radically shaped the way we perceive the Christian life--and this is true for you even if you haven't read them. Our Christian culture and self-understanding has been deeply shaped by Augustine's Confessions and City of God, and, if you're an evangelical, by Pilgrim's Progress. The Eastern Christian tradition, however, was largely shaped by other works, and these have played into the distinctive flavor of Eastern Christian spirituality. Among the most influential books of that tradition, at least in terms of the Christian perception of the spiritual life, are Pseudo-Dionysius' works and The Ladder of Divine Ascent by John Climacus. So while most Westerners haven't heard of this book, that doesn't mean that it's obscure--rather, that we Westerners may simply be rather narrow in our experience and understanding of our Christian heritage. The Ladder was written somewhere around the year 600 AD, by a monk who had spent his life living with communities of other monks in the region of Palestine and Egypt. As such, it's primarily a text written for other monks. It takes the image of the ladder to heaven from the story of Jacob's dream in Genesis 28, and uses it to enumerate 30 steps of spiritual progress on the way to union with God. From this book, the Eastern Christian tradition learned much of its understanding of the life of Christians as a pattern of askesis, of self-discipline for the sake of spiritual growth. It outlines the particular vices to be on guard for, the ways that demons may try to tempt or undermine the progress made by varying temperaments of people, and offers advice for how to grow in one's habits of prayer and discipline. It's not an easy book to read, largely because it comes out of a time and culture that are radically different from our own. But, partly for that reason, it's a very important book. It challenges a great deal of our contemporary Christian assumptions. While admitting that the body is a good creation of God, it views this physical form as our battlefield. Christian theology tends to swing on a pendulum of understandings regarding the spirit/body dynamic, from an almost-Gnostic sensibility about the body's crude weightedness, tying down the spirit, to a blithe assumption that spirit and body dance together perfectly, such that we never give a thought to the ways that our body can impede our spiritual progress. Though there are still some near-Gnostic trends in evangelical thought, most of the theology coming out in recent decades has focused on body-affirming positions. Climacus and the Ladder come down on the other end of the spectrum--the body was created good, yes, but it was created as part of our labor. Following a traditional ancient-Christian perception of God's purpose in creation--that God created a developmental world, fashioned for the growth of its creatures, rather than an already-perfect creation that was later brought down from its heights of perfection by sin--Climacus would have us see our bodies as our battlefields, as the soil in which we labor to produce a harvest for the Lord. We are called as Christians to be agents of the Kingdom of God in this world, and to work for the expansion of that Kingdom. Well, part of that work is to plant the flag of Christ's Kingdom in our own unruly, fleshly natures. The first battle for the Kingdom of God begins at home, reclaiming the dust of our flesh. Thus The Ladder encourages us to be tremendously serious about things that we in American Christianity shrug off--the dual dangers of allowing our bodies to operate with unrestrained appetites (leading to gluttony) and of focusing so much on diet and exercise that we glorify the body itself (leading to vainglory and pride); further, it gives helpful advice to consider spiritual practices that almost none of us dare attempt anymore--challenging the way our bodies' appetites can master our lives in demands for sleep, for comfort, for idle play. There are sections of Climacus' work that leave me unsettled, thinking that, even amid the concessions he allows for the weakness of human nature, he may still drive us too hard. But at the same time, it challenges me to look hard at my life, spent in relative ease, and to consider the great question of whether I have fought hard enough to bring my whole person--body as well as soul--into the obedient submission of the Kingdom of God. As Paul says, "Nothing shall be my master," and that "nothing," I suppose, includes myself.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Penrose

    ugh. It's taking me sooooooo loooooonnnngggg to read this --- BECAUSE IT SUCKS SO HARD! This man's philosophy on how to live your life (if you are a monk that it) is the antithesis of everything I believe! He promotes good intentioned shaming, he is down on family, he advocates silence and detatchment... Excerpt; The man who really loves the Lord, who has made a real effort to find the future Kingdom, who is really pained by his sins, who is really mindful of eternal torment and judgement, who rea ugh. It's taking me sooooooo loooooonnnngggg to read this --- BECAUSE IT SUCKS SO HARD! This man's philosophy on how to live your life (if you are a monk that it) is the antithesis of everything I believe! He promotes good intentioned shaming, he is down on family, he advocates silence and detatchment... Excerpt; The man who really loves the Lord, who has made a real effort to find the future Kingdom, who is really pained by his sins, who is really mindful of eternal torment and judgement, who really lives in fear of his own departure, will not love, care or worry about money, or possessions, or parents, or worldly glory, or friends, or brothers, or anything at all on earth. But having shaken off all ties with earthly things and having stripped himself of all his cares, and having come to hate even his own flesh, and having stripped himself of everything, he will follow Christ without anxiety or hesitation, always looking Heavenward and expecting help from there, according to the word of the saint: My soul hath cleaved after Thee; and according to that other ever-memorable man who said: I have not wearied of following Thee, nor have I desired the day or rest of man, O Lord. GOOD GRIEF!

  5. 4 out of 5

    William white

    This cannot be titles or surnamed a book.. This work is a way of Life...meant for monks,but as Christians are we not all to live as religious? In an upward ascent i read this daily to instill what is not or to ask for perfection in something that has been hardened by sin... St John Climacus i feel put his life into this work as it is one of few he wrote. I HIGHLY SUGGEST THIS especially for all Christians Daily reading

  6. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    Meant for monks, it is nonetheless full of helpful advice and encouragement for anyone on the path. A true masterpiece that deserves to be read many times. The further you progress the more it will mean to you - and I would dare even suggest that the more this work rings true and speaks to you, the further along you are. At any stage, though, this is profitable reading!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Darrick Taylor

    One of the most revered works of theology and devotion in the Eastern Christian world, it is read in monasteries in the Eastern Churches every Lent, and is one of the most compelling, beautiful works of its type I have ever read. St. John takes you into the heart of the Christian mystery, and despite the fact that it was written for monks, its wisdom is really for everyone.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    One of the greatest spiritual manuals out side the holy Scriptures, read with care, remember this was written for monks not lay people but the greatest of treasure may be detected from these pages.

  9. 5 out of 5

    David

    It seems to me, after reading a good number of works of Christian spirituality and theology, the majority of them are profound and helpful. This makes sense since the ones we still read today have stood the test of time, I imagine the garbage of the ancient and medieval world was soon forgotten. While most are good, some are much easier to read through then others. It may be a translation thing, or maybe just some writers wrote more with a more complex structure than others. Whatever it is, John It seems to me, after reading a good number of works of Christian spirituality and theology, the majority of them are profound and helpful. This makes sense since the ones we still read today have stood the test of time, I imagine the garbage of the ancient and medieval world was soon forgotten. While most are good, some are much easier to read through then others. It may be a translation thing, or maybe just some writers wrote more with a more complex structure than others. Whatever it is, John Climacus is on the easier to read through side of things. Much of his writing is aphorisms, the sort of writing you find in the biblical book of Proverbs. So if you have never read many Christian classics and want to, this might not be a bad place to start. The problem of course is that this is written for monks. So the level of spiritual life, the standard he sets, seems both out of reach for normal people and legalistic. If you forget his audience, it would be easy to condemn what he says as works-righteousness blather. But if you can see through the high calling to the monks you can still find much to challenge normal people. For example, maybe some of us are lazy and sleep too much. We don't need to become monks and wake up twice in the middle of the night to pray, but it might not hurt to sleep a little less so we can spend more time in prayer. Overall, recommended.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kyle Johnson

    "There are some who undertake this holy way of life because of a delight in, a thirst for the love and sweetness of God, and they achieve a union of this kind only after they have shed all vice and acquired all virtue...I have put together a ladder of ascent, let each one take note of the step on which one is standing." Kallistos Ware, the great modern day Orthodox theologian, claims in the introduction that The Ladder of Divine Ascent has been and remains the most commonly read book outside of t "There are some who undertake this holy way of life because of a delight in, a thirst for the love and sweetness of God, and they achieve a union of this kind only after they have shed all vice and acquired all virtue...I have put together a ladder of ascent, let each one take note of the step on which one is standing." Kallistos Ware, the great modern day Orthodox theologian, claims in the introduction that The Ladder of Divine Ascent has been and remains the most commonly read book outside of the Bible in Eastern Christianity. Written around 600 by a monk to monks living in community on Mt. Sinai, John Climacus envisions a 30-runged ladder that one climbs in pursuit of union with God. While the 30 rungs metaphorically represent the 30 years leading up to Jesus' ministry, they more practically each highlight a virtue to be acquired or a vice to be overcome in any serious pursuit of spiritual growth. The monastic, ascetic, radical context of The Ladder should not be taken lightly; several sub-themes of his teachings will appear obscure to the modern reader, if not offensive. Nevertheless, read in community and with a sincere effort to bridge the cultural chasms between him and us, there is value for anyone here on the upward and onward journey to God.

  11. 5 out of 5

    SilverReader

    The more i learn and read, the guiltier i will feel during Judgement Day. And yet, here we are.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Bryant

    Well... it is pascha during the corona quarantine, and I just finished this. St. John would probably have something so dark it's funny to say about this, or simply "Χριστός Ανέστη!" Because we are called to rise to Him from this isolation and lockdown, for "Truly He is risen." This work, plus the just completed Lenten fast during which I read it, helped me understand how underestimated the problem of gluttony is. This is just eating more than you need. Who in our age and place doesn't do that? Wh Well... it is pascha during the corona quarantine, and I just finished this. St. John would probably have something so dark it's funny to say about this, or simply "Χριστός Ανέστη!" Because we are called to rise to Him from this isolation and lockdown, for "Truly He is risen." This work, plus the just completed Lenten fast during which I read it, helped me understand how underestimated the problem of gluttony is. This is just eating more than you need. Who in our age and place doesn't do that? Who stops eating at the very moment their survival has been ensured? Many Modern skinny folk don't look like it but they eat in excess too. And the effects, like avarice has, of insensitivity, a kind of numbness to your own beliefs, are horrifying. We are numb to God when we have a Self instead full with luxury; God and such a Self are mutually incompatible; 'never the twain shall meet.' The chapter on the results of this, insensitivity was more fearsome than any horror movie I've seen. We stuff ourselves to disconnect from reality, to become the living dead. Blessed John showed me the marvelous nature of simplicity. He also said in the longest chapter, 4 on obedience many hard things, some of which are so troubling I will have to speak about it with my spiritual father. (Update after talk: Turns out yes the abuse sometimes physical was not permitted even if it is seen as providentially good for the abused, and the times it was permitted by the abba or done by the abba himself, it was from holy discernment, so based on exactly what the monk needed, and that happened to be for some of them, long periods of time of humiliating tasks, mockery, insults and ostracism.) He seriously knows the pitfalls of being a hermit, too, which I can relate to very much during this time. This is a work about progress, true progress, not the fake kind they talk about relative to the Modern liberal capitalist, democratic republic and its favorite technologies. It is very dynamic and not static. I would not recommend this work to those who want literal definitions of these virtues and vices, that hold them still and make them stand alone, like the one I gave above of gluttony (as excess eating, although this gets hard when you want to distinguish virtue itself from talents and skills and good actions and good effects of actions and so on). That's something more like what a St. John of Damascus would do, for example a purifying, sanctifying, and transcending of Aristotle's work on virtue ethics. When St. John the Ladder says what one of the virtues *is*, he often is showing rather things *related to it*, namely its effects and causes, the stages of progress or regress within it, and the signs to discern these. The detail he gives us is rich, insightful, and the ground he covers goes well beyond what we might have expected. A diagram, taxonomy, or identification system can offer unconfused conceptual precision, to be able to more reliably identify the relevant friends or enemies on the way, and do so in fully clarified or articulated way for others, but this doesn't give interior descriptions of what it's like and exterior descriptions of what it looks like for a person to move in the right direction, filled with indicators, examples, and meanings all from experience in relation to the end goal of theosis. The more analytic among us will have to be satisfied not being able to make that identification system of these instruments and obstacles on the way, from this book alone anyway, but to receive a more colorful, detailed and lifelike map of the terrain that needs to be traversed to be saved. I would take both so that I'll be able to check for progress or regress, but also identify in advance (or at least in hindsight) precisely what is (or was) the turning point between them, from progress to regress or vice-versa. But if I have to choose only one, I will take the ladder over a good recognition system, so I can be able to tell if I'm climbing or falling when I'm going! and pray that I not mistake an enemy for a friend along the way. God help us.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Neill

    This is a great book but frankly not recommended for idle study. It is aimed at monastics in the context of Orthodox living, it is not a western self-help manual.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    I'm actually reading a version by the monks of Holy Transfiguration Monastery (Boston, 1979).

  15. 5 out of 5

    Connor Longaphie

    as somebody that loves ascetic works, this book disappointed me quite a lot. it is for the most part introductory. theres definitely a lack of depth and profound material that can be felt if one is acquainted with other ascetic writings and the theological material included is another huge downfall of this book. I find the bulk of the theological material in this book to not only be wrong but to be indefensible. No evidence is given or even makeshift explanation for many theological statements. as somebody that loves ascetic works, this book disappointed me quite a lot. it is for the most part introductory. theres definitely a lack of depth and profound material that can be felt if one is acquainted with other ascetic writings and the theological material included is another huge downfall of this book. I find the bulk of the theological material in this book to not only be wrong but to be indefensible. No evidence is given or even makeshift explanation for many theological statements. The practical ascetic suggestions in this book are not only more extreme than they should be, and not only illogical and without reason and purpose, but they dont come off as suggestions. It would not be out of character for the author to say something along the lines of "if you love God you will only drink dirty water". no reason would be given, no explanation and no room for discussion on the matter. For a book held in such high regard, this is without a doubt, a disappointing failure at christian devotion. Pick a different book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth

    The author was a Greek monk at the monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula (which still exists) and eventually became its abbot. Sometime in the early 7th century he was asked to write about the monastic life and its spiritual struggles and the result was this book (written in Greek). It reflects a very different cultural milieu, very strange to modern Westerners (especially those of Protestant backgrounds) - the Byzantine Empire, almost on the eve of the Muslim conquest, in the early The author was a Greek monk at the monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula (which still exists) and eventually became its abbot. Sometime in the early 7th century he was asked to write about the monastic life and its spiritual struggles and the result was this book (written in Greek). It reflects a very different cultural milieu, very strange to modern Westerners (especially those of Protestant backgrounds) - the Byzantine Empire, almost on the eve of the Muslim conquest, in the early 600's A.D. The spiritual life is described as 30 steps (recalling Jacob's Ladder in Genesis), which can be a fierce struggle with onself and one's inner demons, which can last a lifetime. Reading it is not a breeze to say the least, but to anyone looking for a guide to a Christian spiritual life, it can repay the effort. It is a popular read to this day among the Eastern Orthodox.

  17. 4 out of 5

    David Di Giacomo

    I wish I could give this book 10 stars. There are very few other books that are so rewarding upon multiple re-reads. I do not understand at all the people who say it is only for monastics, or that it should only be read with adequate preparation. This was the first Orthodox book I read when I started getting interested in Orthodoxy. I didn't understand most of it, but it was the litterary equivalent of attending an All-Night Vigil for the first time: bewildering, intoxicating and wondrous. It "s I wish I could give this book 10 stars. There are very few other books that are so rewarding upon multiple re-reads. I do not understand at all the people who say it is only for monastics, or that it should only be read with adequate preparation. This was the first Orthodox book I read when I started getting interested in Orthodoxy. I didn't understand most of it, but it was the litterary equivalent of attending an All-Night Vigil for the first time: bewildering, intoxicating and wondrous. It "smelled like incense", so to speak, and gave me a sense of what Orthodoxy feels like. And the struggle against the passions is something every human being must undertake or else perish, whether monastic or not. Very little of this book is not applicable to laypeople.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    I read this book in Eastertide 2015. I've been meaning to write about it for about a year, now! Sorry about that. I felt today would be a good day since it is his commemoration in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Anyway, The Ladder of Divine Ascent is one of the most popular works of spiritual writing in the Eastern Orthodox tradition. Its popularity in the Christian East is similar to St Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ -- this latter being the most copied, printed, and translated book of w I read this book in Eastertide 2015. I've been meaning to write about it for about a year, now! Sorry about that. I felt today would be a good day since it is his commemoration in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Anyway, The Ladder of Divine Ascent is one of the most popular works of spiritual writing in the Eastern Orthodox tradition. Its popularity in the Christian East is similar to St Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ -- this latter being the most copied, printed, and translated book of western Christendom next to the Bible. It is read in every Eastern Orthodox monastery in Lent as well as by many of the laity. St John 'of the Ladder' (translating klimakos) was the late sixth-century abbot of the monastery at Sinai, now known as St Catherine's. In this book, he distills the wisdom he has acquired through his own long years as a monk, a solitary, and a spiritual guide. It is hard when reviewing such a classic as this to find the right words (I used this same cop-out in my review of City of God, I know). I found much of value in it, but it was hard-going. It is not an easy book. Books by monks for monks rarely are. Nonetheless, there is much here even for the lay Anglican. That may not be the strongest recommendation. Nonetheless, I do recommend this book for the determined inquirer in the spiritual reality of the Triune God. A friend on Facebook asked me if this was a good guide to the via negativa. The answer is that this book is not a work of mystical theology. It is mainly a guide to praktike, the external practices that one must couple to theoria (or contemplation) in order to ascent the ladder to God. A great number of the steps are about how to do battle against the passions, using a slightly different schema of their division from the more famous Evagrian one that made its way into the 7 deadly sins via St Gregory the Great. This is not to say that theoria is completely ignored by any means. Theoria is the point of the ascent. This text lies historically near the beginning of the Jesus Prayer tradition, as we see in this quotation: "Let the remembrance of Jesus be present with your every breath. Then indeed you will appreciate the value of stillness." St John's Ladder is about the heart of monastic spirituality. It is about the quest for apatheia -- dispassion, that elusive state of being where the unclean logismoi of our flesh or of the demons, stirred up in our fallen hearts, break against our armour, as we storm the gates of Hell armed with prayer and the Holy Name of Jesus on our lips. In this, St John stands with Evagrian apatheia and St John Cassian's purity of heart. As the topics of discussion listed below show us, the ascetic practices of the Ladder are not restricted to those of prayer or those of daily life. They embrace the whole of our situation. This is in accord with Archimandrite Sophrony's warnings in His Life Is Mine against engaging in spiritual practices without the rest of the virtuous life and the doctrine of the Church to uphold us. It resonates also with the introductory remarks to The Philokalia, Volume 1: The Complete Text, where the translators remind us of so many people who get caught up in the externals of Christian life, forgetting the better part of Mary of Bethany. The 30 steps of the Ladder are: 1. On renunciation of the world 2. On detachment 3. On exile or pilgrimage 4. On blessed and ever-memorable obedience 5. On painstaking and true repentance which constitute the life of the holy convicts; and about the prison (this is about a monastery he visited in Alexandria where monks guilty of certain offences were sent to a "prison") 6. On remembrance of death 7. On mourning which causes joy 8. On freedom from anger and on meekness 9. On remembrance of wrongs 10. On slander or calumny 11. On talkativeness and silence 12. On lying 13. On despondency (akkedia 14. On the clamorous, yet wicked master—the stomach 15. On incorruptible purity and chastity to which the corruptible attain by toil and sweat 16. On love of money or avarice 17. On poverty (that hastens heavenwards) 18. On insensibility, that is, deadening of the soul and the death of the mind before the death of the body 19. On sleep, prayer, and psalm-singing in chapel 20. On bodily vigil and how to use it to attain spiritual vigil and how to practise it 21. On unmanly and puerile cowardice 22. On the many forms of vainglory 23. On mad pride, and, in the same Step, on unclean blasphemous thoughts 24. On meekness, simplicity, guilelessness which come not from nature but from habit, and about malice 25. On the destroyer of the passions, most sublime humility, which is rooted in spiritual feeling 26. On discernment of thoughts, passions and virtues 27. On holy solitude of body and soul 28. On holy and blessed prayer, mother of virtues, and on the attitude of mind and body in prayer 29. Concerning heaven on earth, or godlike dispassion and perfection, and the resurrection of the soul before the general resurrection 30. Concerning the linking together of the supreme trinity among the virtues

  19. 5 out of 5

    Volkert

    I have read parts of this volume a long time ago, and then decided to start over during Great Lent three years ago. Now in Great Lent, I finally finished it. This is one of the great spiritual classics of the Eastern Christian tradition, and is also read in the West. Many Orthodox monks read this every Lent. What strikes me is how little is said about Christian doctrine, or what is commonly called theology. Here theology is knowing God through prayer, through dispassion, through love.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tom Schmdit

    I try to read this every Lent, but sometime fall flat. So much wisdom to digest. This book was written for monks, but almost everything applies to the layman/laywoman as well. An Orthodox classic that should be read by all.

  21. 5 out of 5

    John Moore

    Good spiritual reading This is a very powerful book and makes great Lenten reading. I found it to be thought-provoking and challenging. Highly recommended for those who want to be shaken up.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Steve Ronald

    Required Reading This book needs to be carefully read and re-read throughout your walk with Christ. It won't make sense, then it will, then you'll notice something you missed. Again and again and again.

  23. 4 out of 5

    William Hecht

    Amazing presentation of early Christian monastic theory and practice.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anton Relin

    Big boys DO cry - at least according to Climacus. Fascinating.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Fr. Robert

    A good spiritual read, but only for advanced readers in spiritual journeys. May be somewhat intense and misleading for the novice.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Caleb

    It was great meditative reading for Lent- however I did not find it as applicable to non-monastic life as many readers have said, especially the chapter on obedience which struck me as rather abusive

  27. 4 out of 5

    Luke

    Interesting, dense, profound. I will need to revisit this. Date Started: Wednesday, February 6, 2019 Date Finished: Saturday, March 2, 2019 Time: 765 minutes (12.75 hours)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    While primarily written for monks, the Ladder of Divine Ascent is a spiritual classic for those seeking Divine Intimacy.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Isaac Peltz

    This is a masterpiece. As you read, John Climacus tells us the deep humility required as we learn how to follow Christ, and suffer as Christ suffered. All Christians who desire to walk in depth with Christ should meditate on these chapters, slowly, ruminating over the course of a few months, and then come back to it again.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    Wow

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.