Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Ladder of Divine Ascent


An Orthodox priest filling the oil lamps above the tomb at the Holy Sepulchre.

 A brave Benedictine nun positioned a ladder on the stairs leading down to the crypt and climbed up to extinguish the candle at one of the stations of the cross.
 At the Abbey of St. Mary of the Resurrection, Abu Ghosh.

A brave nun friend on chapel-cleaning day.
Chapel at the tomb of St. Elisabeth.
Why am I posting pictures of monastics on tall ladders?
Because  today is the Sunday of  John of the Ladder!
St. John Climacus wrote the guide for his fellow monks, The Ladder of Divine Ascent.
He lived not far from here, at Santa Katarina monastery in Sinai and in desert caves in the 7th century.

I have been learning about him at Sr. Dr. Vassa's short video.
In it Sr. Vassa also talks about how you don't have to be a monastic to get into the habit of doing a little bit of spiritual reading, lectio divina, every day,  just for a few minutes.

The 12th C icon for The Ladder of Divine Ascent, this one from St. Catherine's Monastery.

You can sample some sections of the book here.
Or an outline of the steps of the ladder.
More about St. John Climacus.
An easy walk-through of the icon is at this nice icons blog.
Also at Wikipedia
But the most fun way is to see the Coffee with Sr. Vassa episode. Only ten minutes.


Hels said...

The ladder is useful but it is also a great metaphor.

Pietro Brosio said...

A very informative and detailed post.
Thanks for sharing, Dina!

Birdman said...

John the Ladder? I learn a lot from you.

Dina said...

Hels, yes it is. And John of the Ladder used Jacob's ladder as the model.

Pietro, thanks for reading it.

Birdman, John OF the Ladder, yeah. Well, I learn a lot from good Sr. Vassa so I'm just passing on the gift. Have you tried her videos?

William Kendall said...

Fitting shots for the day! The oil lamps in the Holy Sepulchre are quite ornate.

VP said...

You made me laugh, very good post!

Suzanne said...

This is one clever post Dina. I love it and I especially love the nun cleaning the wall sconce. Beautiful and thanks to Sr. Vassa for your enlightenment.

Sara Lorayne said...

Love this post, Dina! Bravo! I gave his Ladder of Divine Ascent a try this week, got halfway through Step 4 decided I can only handle it in small segments. Nice that we can download it though.

crystal said...

Interesting about the lectio divina. I didn't realize Orthodox did that too. I have a book about it but haven't read it for years ...

Petrea Burchard said...

What a great post! So many wonderful photos to illustrate your theme.

Kay said...

John the Ladder? Good gracious! Never heard of him, but then again there's a lot I haven't heard of. It looks awfully dangerous to be on those precarious ladders.