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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Today is the 4th Sunday of Lent

Today is the 4th Sunday of Lent. The Sunday of "St. John of the Ladder". Last Sunday was the third Sunday of Lent and it was the Sunday of the cross. In two weeks it will be Palm Sunday.

This is the Icon of the Ladder of Divine ascent. It's basically another way of saying "growing in grace". Much of the material of Eastern Orthodoxy is devotional. And in the season of the great fast there is a mighty form of "introspection" that goes on. Inspecting one's self. One's walk.

But this podcast is by Ft. Thomas Hopko and he skims through the work of St. John Climacus's book. ....the book called "the ladder of divine ascent".

There are two scriptures that this podcast as well as today's church homilie reminded me off

1st Corinthians 10:13
"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."


Philippians 2:12-13
"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."

The podcast also minded me of what I saw in some of the early christians.

"To be subjected to our lusts, and to yield to them, is the most extreme form of slavery. To keep those lusts in subjection is the only liberty." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

"We are commanded to be lords over not only the wild beats outside of us, but also over the wild lusts within ourselves." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

"There cannot be a victory unless first there comes a battle." Saint Cyprian 250 A.D.

sidenote: Clement of Alexandria is not called a saint in Eastern Orthodoxy.

In Eastern Orthodoxy one must understand that "belief" is not something of the "mind alone". It isn't really trying to stay stable by making your mind muscles and lip muscles conform to a confessional belief system. Instead, it is getting the whole body to embrace the "confessional belief system". The "belief" must permeate the whole man. Not just the mind, and tongue alone. If one understands this then they will understand a good portion of the Eastern christian mindset in general.

One can't see "faith", but one can see it's fruit. And this is why "Faith" must permeate the whole that the whole man can produce fruit.

As takin from the website:

"It is at this point in our Lenton Journy that the Church contemplates the instruction of St. John Climacus and his Ladder of Divine Ascent. Fr. Tom takes us step by step through this treasure and makes it practical for us non-monastics! (33:36)"



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