Religion & Spirituality:Spirituality
The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter XXII: On Vainglory, Part IV, and On Pride, Part I
Rarely do we acknowledge the extraordinary gift that God gave to his Church in the Desert fathers. It is precisely through their “living martyrdom” - their dying to self, to sin, and to the world, that they are able to guide us through the trials and tribulations of spiritual warfare. Their perception of our vulnerabilities as human beings was very acute. Humbled over and over again and acknowledging their sin and poverty before God, they came to see the many ways that the vices manifest themselves as well as the remedies to bring healing.
The spirituality that arises out of desert monasticism is not one among many. It is “the spirituality” of the church. It is a manifestation of the deepest exercise of faith. In this the desert fathers became living icons of the gospel. For this reason, it is often acknowledged that “wherever we see renewal within the life of the church, there are the desert fathers.”
Saint John Climacus draws us into where the fiercest warfare takes place – the human ego. We often seek to place the self at the center of existence and so open ourselves up to the spirit of vainglory and pride. When these take hold of us they close the door to repentance and healing. Furthermore, St. John tells us, they lead to a kind of “madness”. They distort our perception of reality. We can no longer see God or the truth about ourselves. And we see others not as the object of our love and compassion. Rather we become pitiless inquisitors and inhuman judges. Thus, it has often been said that a prideful monk has no need to be attacked by the demons because he has become a demon himself. This is true for all of us.
Text of chat during the group:
It is Free