Wednesday, March 30, 2016

For All the Saints: John Klimatos, & an Uncondemning Monk

Icon of John Klimatos,
from Wikipedia
On the Orthodox calendar, St John Climatus (John of the Ladder) of Sinai is honored today in the Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions, and he is also honored in Orthodox churches on the Fourth Sunday of Great Lent. Few facts are known of his life during the 600s; he joined the monastery at Mount Sinai during his teens and lived there until his death at 80. During a period of twenty years when he lived in a cave, he wrote a classic work, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, which is still read a treasury of spiritual wisdom which is read in its entirety in monasteries during every Lenten season. In that work, Jacob's Ladder Genesis 28) is used as an analogy for the progression of one's body and should to God. Each step corresponds to different virtues until one reaches the highest, which is love. In the 19th century, philosopher Soren Kierkegaard used "John Climatus" as one of his pseudonyms.

March 30 is also the day for honoring "an uncondemning monk." The Orthodox Saints site has this:
"This monk died joyfully because he had never in his life condemned anyone. He was lazy, careless, disinclined to prayer, but throughout his entire life he had never judged anyone. And when he lay dying, he was full of joy. The brethren asked him how he could die so joyfully with all his sins, and he replied: 'I have just seen the angels, and they showed me a page with all my many sins. I said to them: "The Lord said: 'Judge not, that ye be not judged.' I have never judged anyone and I hope in the mercy of God, that He will not judge me." And the angels tore up the sheet of paper.' Hearing this, the monks wondered at it and learned from it."

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