Friday, April 19, 2024

Met Ephrem (Kyriakos): The Ladder to God

Arabic original here.

The Ladder to God

During Great and Holy Lent, we read the Ladder to God by Saint John Climacus, who lived in the desert of Sinai in the 7th century.

The saint teaches through his book to struggle first of all strongly against earthly matters in order to acquire the virtues which are for heavenly matters. "The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force" (Matthew 11:12).

After this stage, we can enjoy this tenderness in following God's commandments.

Saint Isaac the Syrian says, "Wicked passions will not disappear and vain thoughts will not stop without the desert."

In his era, Saint John Climacus didn't know telephones or the internet. He lived int he desert of Sinai, but he developed a sense of repentance and contrition. And after that, he began the spiritual ascent upon the ladder of virtues:

He struggles against anger, debauchery and wantonness and after that, it is within our ability to acquire meekness, patience and love.

The spiritual life, as the saint says, goes up the ladder step by step.

The spiritual life does not develop by merely participating in the Divine Liturgy on Sundays.

We must combat wicked, negative passions, especially selfishness. At that point, we acquire a feeling of God's mercy and we also acquire a spiritual sense that touches our heart through the Holy Spirit.

The Ladder appears harsh at first glance, but after examining and scrutinizing it, after struggling against wicked passions, as we have said, we feel the tenderness and affection of Saint John Climacus' writings, which spread some joy in our hearts, and also the warmth and intimacy with God that were hidden like a seed in our baptism grow and bear good fruits.


Metropolitan of Tripoli, al-Koura and their Dependencies

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