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(The Ladder of Divine Ascent) Step 10: On slander or calumny

1. No sensible person, I think, will dispute that slander is born of hatred and malice. Therefore it comes next in order after its forebears. 2. Slander is an offspring of hatred, a subtle yet coarse disease, a leech lurking unfelt, wasting and draining the blood of charity. It is simulation of love... Read More

(The Ladder of Divine Ascent) Step 11: On talkativeness and silence

1. In the preceding chapter we spoke briefly of how extremely dangerous it is to judge others and of how this vice steals into even the most apparently spiritual people; and how it is better to subject oneself to condemnation and punishment by the tongue. Now we must show the cause of this vice, and... Read More

(The Ladder of Divine Ascent) Step 12: On lying

1. The offspring of flint and steel is fire; and the offspring of chatter and joking is lying. 2. A lie is the destruction of love, and perjury is a denial of God. 3. Let no one with right principles suppose that the sin of lying is a small matter, for the All-Holy Spirit pronounced the most awful s... Read More

(The Ladder of Divine Ascent) Step 13: On despondency

1. As we have already frequently said, this—we mean despondency—is very often one of the branches of talkativeness, and its first child. And so we have given it its appropriate place in this chain of vices. 2. Despondency is a slackness of soul, a weakening of the mind, neglect of asceticism, hatred... Read More

(The Ladder of Divine Ascent) Step 14: On the clamorous , yet wicked master—the stomach

1. We have been attacking ourselves in everything that we have said, but this is specially so when we speak about the stomach. For I wonder if anyone has got free of this master before settling in the grave. 2. Gluttony is hypocrisy of the stomach; for when it is glutted it complains of scarcity, an... Read More

(The Ladder of Divine Ascent) Step 15: On incorruptible purity and chastity

We have heard from that raving mistress gluttony who has just spoken, that her offspring is war against bodily chastity. And this is not surprising since our ancient forefather Adam teaches us this too. For if he had not been overcome by his stomach he would not have known what a wife was.[200] That... Read More

(The Ladder of Divine Ascent) Step 16: On love of money or avarice

1. Many learned teachers treat next, after the tyrant just described, the thousand-headed demon of avarice. We, unlearned as we are, did not wish to change the order of the learned, and we have therefore followed the same convention and rule. So let us first say a little about the disease, and then ... Read More

(The Ladder of Divine Ascent) Step 17: On poverty (that hastens heavenwards)

1. Poverty is the resignation of cares, life without anxiety, an unencumbered traveller, alienation from sorrow, fidelity to the commandments. 2. A poor monk is lord of the world. He has entrusted his cares to God and by faith has obtained all men as his slaves. He will not tell his need to man, and... Read More

(The Ladder of Divine Ascent) Step 18: On insensibility

On insensibility, that is, deadening of the soul and the death of the mind before the death of the body. 1. Insensibility both in the body and in the spirit is deadened feeling, which from long sickness and negligence lapses into loss of feeling. 2. Insensibility is negligence that has become habit;... Read More

(The Ladder of Divine Ascent) Step 19: On sleep, prayer, and psalm-singing

On sleep, prayer, and psalm-singing in chapel. 1. Sleep is a particular state of nature, an image of death, inactivity of the senses. Sleep is one, but, like desire, its sources and occasions are many: that is to say, it comes from nature, from food, from demons, or perhaps, sometimes, from extreme ... Read More

(The Ladder of Divine Ascent) Step 1: On renunciation of the world

1. Our God and King is good, ultra-good and all-good (it is best to begin with God in writing to the servants of God). Of the rational beings created by Him and honoured with the dignity of free-will, some are His friends, others are His true servants, some are worthless, some are completely estrang... Read More

(The Ladder of Divine Ascent) Step 20: On bodily vigil

On bodily vigil and how to use it to attain spiritual vigil and how to practise it. 1. Some stand before earthly kings without weapons and without armour, others hold staffs of office, and some have shields, and some swords. The former are vastly superior to the latter, for they are usually personal... Read More

(The Ladder of Divine Ascent) Step 21: On unmanly and puerile cowardice

1. If you pursue virtue in a monastery or community, you are not likely to be attacked much by fear. But the man who spends his time in more solitary places should make every effort to avoid being overcome by that offspring of vainglory, that daughter of unbelief, cowardice. 2. Cowardice is a childi... Read More

(The Ladder of Divine Ascent) Step 22: On the many forms of vainglory

1. Some like to distinguish vainglory from pride and to give it a special place and chapter. And so they say that there are eight capital and deadly sins[253]. But Gregory the Theologian and other teachers have given out that there are seven; and I am strongly inclined to agree with them. For who th... Read More

(The Ladder of Divine Ascent) Step 23: On mad pride

On mad[266] pride, and, in the same Step, on unclean blasphemous thoughts. 1. Pride is denial of God, an invention of the devil, the despising of men, the mother of condemnation, the offspring of praise, a sign of sterility, flight from divine assistance, the precursor of madness, the herald of fall... Read More

(The Ladder of Divine Ascent) Step 24: On meekness, simplicity, guilelessness

On meekness, simplicity, guilelessness which come not from nature but from habit, and about malice. 1. 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 ... Read More

(The Ladder of Divine Ascent) Step 25: On the destroyer of the passions, most sublime humility

On the destroyer of the passions, most sublime humility, which is rooted in spiritual feeling. 1. He who thinks that it is possible to use the visible word in order to describe the sensation and effect of the love of the Lord exactly, holy humility gracefully, blessed purity truly, divine enlightenm... Read More

(The Ladder of Divine Ascent) Step 26: On discernment of thoughts, passions and virtues

1. Discernment in beginners is true knowledge of themselves; in intermediate souls it is a spiritual sense that faultlessly distinguishes what is truly good from what is of nature and opposed to it; and in the perfect it is the knowledge which they possess by divine illumination, and which can enlig... Read More

(The Ladder of Divine Ascent) Step 26a: Brief summary of all the previous steps

1. Firm faith is the mother of renunciation. The opposite of this is self-evident. 2. Unwavering hope is the door to detachment. The opposite of this is self-evident. 3. Love of God is the foundation of exile. The opposite is self-evident. 4. Obedience is born of self-condemnation and desire for hea... Read More

(The Ladder of Divine Ascent) Step 27: On holy solitude of body and soul

1. We are like bought serfs under contract to unholy passions; we therefore know to some extent the whims, ways, will and wiles of the spirits that rule over our poor souls. But there are others who through the action of the Holy Spirit, and by reason of their liberation from the rule of those spiri... Read More

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