Sunday, April 6, 2014

Saint Study: St John Climacus (of the Ladder)

Ascend, brothers! Ascend eagerly to the mountain of the Lord!

St John Climacus is best-known for his famous book, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," a description of how to reach heaven. Aimed at monks, lay Orthodox have found it helpful through the centuries for it describes how to grow in the spiritual life and much is applicable to the ordinary person. We celebrate St John on the fourth Sunday of Lent, as we all strive to reach higher spiritual goals. The divine ascent has been put in icon form, as well.

In the icon, monks and saints are striving to climb the ladder. Note the evil, dark demons trying to drag them off!

Learn more about St John by reading:
Book editions of The Ladder:
St John lauded in hymn:

Troparion — Tone 1

Dweller of the desert and angel in the body, / you were shown to be a wonder-worker, our God-bearing Father John. / You received heavenly gifts through fasting, vigil, and prayer: / healing the sick and the souls of those drawn to you by faith. / Glory to Him who gave you strength! / Glory to Him who granted you a crown! / Glory to Him who through you grants healing to all!

Kontakion — Tone 4

The Lord truly set you on the heights of abstinence, / to be a guiding star, showing the way to the universe, / O our Father and Teacher John.
Finally, Fr Andrew of St Luke Church offers us a prayer of the week on St John:
Prayer: O Holy Desert Dweller and Angel in the body, You received heavenly gifts through fasting, vigils and prayer. On this day when we commemorate your life and works, we ask you to pray to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that he will guide us up the ladder of divine ascent, reaching the last rung which will open to us the kingdom of heaven. Amen.
Bible Verse: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. Matt 5:6.
Bible Question: How is one "filled" through fasting, vigils, and prayer?

Earning credits:
You can receive 1 credit for reading about St John and filling out the Saint worksheet, available from the Lessons tab. Email your completed sheet to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com.
You can receive 1 credit for answering the question to the Prayer of the Week. Email your answer to oandrey(at)aol(d0t)com and else10(at)gmail(d0t)com.
You can earn 3 credits for reading The Ladder of Divine Ascent and filling out the General Worksheet for books, available from the Lessons tab. Email your completed sheet to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com.
May your learning be blessed!

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