Skip to main content

Today we celebrate the Sunday of St. John Climacus and hear the lesson from the Gospel of St. Mark 9: 17-31: the story of the man who brought his epileptic son to Jesus to be healed believing he was possessed of a spirit.

Jesus in his reply to the man’s pleading, after he heard the disciples murmuring, said, “this kind can come out only by prayer and fasting”. The actual theme of faithfulness is expressed in the special hymns of this the fourth Sunday of Great Lent. Faith is an act of trust, an attitude of confidence and an inward decision of reliance on God. Faith activates the power of God in our lives. Through the commitment of faith, we enter into a personal relationship with God and become open to the flow of His love.

Faithfulness to God is exemplified by the lives of Saints, one of which is celebrated on this Sunday, John Climacus, the late 6th / early 7th century Saint who rose from a tonsured monk to Abbot of St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai.

It was during his time there that he wrote the Ladder of Divine Ascent, in which he offers spiritual and moral perfection through a life in union with God, the summit of the human quest for true life and ultimate fulfillment.

The simple truth of Christian perfection according to him was for us to live as Jesus did, “so that we may become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ’s full stature”. For us in the world, Christian perfection is not the practice of harsh ascetic disciplines or their external forms but growth in love, holiness, and goodness – a spiritual Ascent through Christ, a Jacob’s Ladder which brings us to the very presence of God.

St. John of the Ladder