John Climacus (Greek: Ἰωάννης τῆς Κλίμακος; Latin: Ioannes Climacus), also known as John of the Ladder, John Scholasticus and John Sinaites, was a 6th-7th-century Christian monk at the monastery on Mount Sinai. He is revered as a saint by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches.
The Ladder of Divine Ascent
- as translated by Archimandrite Lazarus Moore (Holy Transfiguration Monastery: 1959)
- In hastening to solitude and exile, do not wait for world-loving souls, because the thief comes unexpectedly. In trying to save the careless and indolent along with themselves, many perish with them, because in course of time the fire goes out. As soon as the flame is burning within you, run; for you do not know when it will go out and leave you in darkness. Not all of us are required to save others. The divine Apostle says, ... "Thou therefore who teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?" This is like saying: I do not know whether we must teach others; but teach yourselves at all costs.
- Even if glory is God-given, yet it is excellent to divert it from oneself with the shield of humility.
- The man who associates with people of the world or approaches them after his renunciation will certainly either fall into their traps or will defile his heart by thinking about them; or if he is not defiled himself yet by condemning those who are defiled, he too will himself be defiled.
- Obedience is the tomb of the will and the resurrection of humility.
- He whose will and desire in conversation is to establish his own opinion, even though what he says is true, should recognize that he is sick with the devil's disease.
- A monastery is an earthly heaven.
- Constantly wrestle with your thought, and whenever it wanders call it back to you
- I will not be silent about something which it is not right to leave in silence lest I should inhumanly keep to myself what ought to be made known.
- Baptism is the washing away of evils that were in us before, but sins committed after baptism are washed away by tears.
- Drive away with the hand of humility every transitory joy, as being unworthy of it, lest by readily admitting it you receive a wolf instead of a shepherd.
- A monk is one who is conditioned by virtues as others are by pleasures.
A shrewd hesychast requires no words. He is enlightened by deeds rather than by words.
The start of stillness is the rejection of all noisiness as something that will trouble the depths of the soul. The final point is when one has no longer a fear of noisy disturbance, when one is immune to it. He who when he goes out does not go out in his intellect is gentle and wholly a house of love, rarely moyed to speech and never to anger. The opposite to all this is manifest.
Strange as it may seem, the hesychast is a man who fights to keep his incorporeal self shut up in the house of the body.
- Chapter 27, p. 262 (John Climacus; Colm Luibheid & Norman Russell (trans.) (1982). The ladder of divine ascent. London: SPCK. ISBN 0-281-03782-5.)
The beginning of prayer is the expulsion of distractions from the very start by a single thought; the middle stage is the concentration on what is being said or thought; its conclusion is rapture in the Lord.
Prayer brings one sort of joy to those living in community, and another to those praying in stillness. Elation is sometimes characteristic of the former, but humility is always to be found in the latter.
- Chapter 28, p. 276 (John Climacus; Colm Luibheid & Norman Russell (trans.) (1982). The ladder of divine ascent. London: SPCK. ISBN 0-281-03782-5.)