Thursday, December 12, 2019 UTC

MAR 30, 31 & APRIL 2: 4TH SUNDAY OF THE GREAT FAST – ST. JOHN CLIMACUS VENERABLE

   MAR 30: CONFESSION – 3:00 – 3:45; VESPERAL DIVINE LITURGY- 4:00 PM; MAR 31: DIVINE LITURGY OF ST. BASIL – 10:00 AM, FASTING POTLUCK TO FOLLOW; APRIL 2: 6TH HOUR & CATECHISM – 11:00 AM.

The Gospel Reading today, Mark 9: 17-31, is The Healing of a Boy from a Deaf and Dumb Spirit. Jesus Christ rebukes the deaf and dumb spirit and it leaves the boy so he is restored to health. How often in life are we influenced by such a demonic spirit that leaves us deaf at times when we should speak and dumb at times when we need to hear? We are given situations in which we can speak up for what is true and right, and instead we allow the dumb spirit to come upon us and we remain silent in the moment when our voice might make difference.  We could speak up for those who cannot defend themselves, or are oppressed, weak and vulnerable, but instead we become possessed with that demonic silence. We are overwhelmed with noise – constant talk shows, broadcast media, podcasts, and advertisements.  Yet when it matters and our words might uphold what is good, true, beautiful and just – then we let ourselves become possessed by the demon of dumbness. What can you do to change that?

On the Fourth Sunday of the Great Fast the Church commemorates our Righteous Father John Climacus. He is called Climacus due to his authorship of the great spiritual work “The Ladder of Divine Ascent,” in which he indicates a ladder, or succession of virtues which lead us up to the Throne of God. His commemoration is designated by the Church on one of the Sundays of Lent as his life and writings affirm him as a supreme bearer and proponent of Christian abstinence.

You may read “The Ladder of Divine Ascent,” at this site: https://www.sscyrilmethodius.org/wp-prod/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Daily-Readings-for-the-Great-Fast-Ladder-of-Divine-Ascent.pdf

The Ladder (Klimakos in Greek) is composed of 30 steps, each representing a particular vice or virtue encountered in the ascent towards spiritual fulfillment.

Step 1. On renunciation of the world

Step 2. On detachment

Step 3. On exile or pilgrimage

Step 4. On blessed and ever-memorable obedience

Step 5. On painstaking and true repentance

Step 6. On remembrance of death

Step 7. On joy-making mourning

Step 8. On freedom from anger and on meekness

Step 9. On remembrance of wrongs

Step 10. On slander or calumny

Step 11. On talkativeness and silence

Step 12. On lying

Step 13. On despondency

Step 14. On that clamorous mistress, the stomach

Step 15. On incorruptible purity and chastity

Step 16. On love or money, or avarice

Step 17. On non-possessiveness (that hastens one Heavenwards)

Step 18. On insensibility

Step 19. On sleep, prayer, and psalmody with the brotherhood

Step 20. On bodily vigil and how to use it to obtain spiritual vigil.

Step 21. On unmanly and puerile cowardice

Step 22. On the many forms of vainglory

Step 23. On mad pride and unclean blasphemous thoughts

Step 24. On meekness, simplicity and guilelessness

Step 25. On the destroyer of passions, most sublime humility

Step 26. On discernment of thoughts, passions and virtues

Step 27. On holy stillness of body and soul

Step 28. On holy and blessed prayer

Step 29. Concerning Heaven on earth, or Godlike dispassion and perfection

Step 30. Concerning the linking together of the supreme trinity among the virtues.