Religion & Spirituality:Spirituality
The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter XXI: On Unmanly and Puerile Cowardice, Part I
Anxiety, it has been said, is ubiquitous. We all experience it and in its many manifestations. On a purely psychological level, one can never get to the heart or source of this feeling and its accompanying isolation. Often we find ourselves desperate to free ourselves from its grip. Therefore, we either immerse ourselves in the things of this world and maintain the illusion of security or we become paralyzed by it completely.
The desert fathers including St. John Climacus, however, remind us that through the incarnation everything about what it is to be a human being has been assumed and embraced by our Lord, including this experience that often plagues our existence. Christ is the source of all healing and in and through our immersion in His life through the sacraments and prayer we begin to enter into the peace of the kingdom. We are commanded in the Scriptures not to have any anxiety at all. However, this is not simply a command but a promise of grace and strength. If we hold on to our faith in the Lord, if we truly hope in his promises, then all anxiety and fear will flee. To call upon the name of Jesus is to flog our enemies; meaning not only the temptations that come to us from the demons, but the fears that they would insert into our minds and hearts.
To mourn over one’s sin, to acknowledge the brevity of our life, is the set aside all illusion and false security. It leads us to cling to Christ who is life and love. So often we too like the disciples are foolish and slow of heart to believe. Yet in Christ even the most improbable of things becomes possible - that in the soul dedicated to God fear and cowardice disappears.
Text of chat during the group:
It is Free