Posted in FATHERS of the Church, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 30 March – St John Climacus (c 525-606)

Saint of the Day – 30 March – St John Climacus (c 525-606) aged 80-81 – Anchorite Monk, Mystic, Poet, Writer, Ascetic – also known as St John of the Ladder, John Scholasticus, John the Sinaita. John made, while still young, such progress in learning that he was called the Scholastic.

A native of Palestine, at sixteen, John entered a monastery in the Palestinian desert.  After four years of training in a community, he took the vows and an aged abbot foretold that he would some day be one of the greatest lights of the Church.snipped out getty st john climacus.JPG

Nineteen years later, on the death of his director, he withdrew into a deeper solitude, where he studied the lives and writings of the Saints and was raised to an unusual height of contemplation.   The fame of his holiness and practical wisdom drew crowds around him for advice and consolation.   For his greater profit he visited the solitudes of Egypt. He lived forty years as a hermit.   Like other desert fathers, he broke his near-total solitude only on Saturdays and Sundays to worship with other hermits and counsel his followers.

Early in his monastic career John decided that as a mark of submision to God he would receive all criticism as true.   Once, for example, some monks reproached him for wasting time in idle conversation.   So, to correct what he regarded as a serious fault, for a year John observed absolute silence.   Only when his disciples insisted that they needed his spiritual teaching did the saint start speaking again.st john climacus 304px-Św_Jan_Klimak,_Jerzy_i_Błażej

He was induced by a brother abbot to write the rules by which he had guided his life and his book called the Climax, or Ladder of Perfection/The Ladder of Divine Ascent, has been prized in all ages for its wisdom, its clearness and its unction.  He took his name Climacus or “ladder” from his book .   The reader who climbed The Ladder ascended thirty steps to holiness.   According to St John, the goal was to reach a state of apatheia or passive disinterestedness in earthly life, so as to anticipate the wonders of heaven.my snip - st john climacus

Each step communicates some practical insight into Christian living that twenty-first-century readers will still find beneficial.   An icon known by the same title, Ladder of Divine Ascent, depicts a ladder extending from earth to heaven (cf. Genesis 28:12) Several monks are depicted climbing a ladder; at the top is Jesus, prepared to receive them into Heaven.   Also shown are angels helping the climbers and demons attempting to shoot with arrows or drag down the climbers, no matter how high up the ladder they may be.   Most versions of the icon show at least one person falling.   Often, in the lower right corner St John Climacus himself is shown, gesturing towards the ladder, with rows of monastics behind him.

536px-The_Ladder_of_Divine_Ascent_Monastery_of_St_Catherine_Sinai_12th_century
12th century icon (Saint Catherine’s Monastery, Mount Sinai, Egypt)

When John was seventy he was elected abbot of the monastery at Mount Sinai.   That was an appropriate choice, for many monks saw John as a Moses who had received Christian commandments from God and recorded them in his Ladder.   After four years in office, John retired to his cell and died there c 606 at around eighty years of age.

St John’s feast day is 30 March in both the East and West.   The Eastern Orthodox Church and the Byzantine Catholic Churches additionally commemorate him on the Fourth Sunday of Great Lent.   Many churches are dedicated to him in Russia, including a church and belltower in the Moscow Kremlin.john-of-the-ladder.jpg

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Passionate Catholic. Being Catholic is a way of life - a love affair both with God and Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, our most Blessed and Beloved Virgin Mother Mary and the Church. "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco With the Saints, we "serve the Lord with one consent and serve the Lord with one pure language, not indeed to draw them forth from their secure dwelling-places, not superstitiously to honour them, or wilfully to rely on the, ... but silently to contemplate them for edification, thereby encouraging our faith, enlivening our patience..." Blessed John Henry Newman Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions. "For the saints are sent to us by God as so many sermons. We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.” Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) This is a papal fidelity site. Loyal and Obedient to the Current Pope and to the Magisterium United With Him.

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