Prayer has its own special teacher in God

The Fourth Sunday of Lent is dedicated to St John, seventh century Abbot of the monastery of St Catherine on Mount Sinai.

A mosaic of the Transfiguration, in the apse of the Monastery of St Catherine, Sinai

A mosaic of the Transfiguration, in the apse of the Monastery of St Catherine, Sinai

St John’s “Ladder of Divine Ascent” is read throughout Lent in most Orthodox monasteries. It is from this work that he gains his popular soubriquet, St John “Climacus” (Gk κλῖμαξ, climax, a ladder).

Each of its thirty “rungs” (summarised here, with a quotation from each “rung”) illustrates an aspect of the Christian’s ascent to God, through renunciation and grace.

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ALWAYS be brave, and God will teach you your prayer.

You cannot learn to see just because someone tells you to do so. For that, you require your own natural power of sight.

In the same way, you cannot discover from the teaching of others the beauty of prayer.

Prayer has its own special teacher in God, who “teaches men knowledge” (Ps 93[94]:10).

He grants the prayer of him who prays. And he blesses the years of the just.

St John Climacus, “Ladder of Divine Ascent”, Stage 28.

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Κύριε Ιησοῦ Χριστέ, ἐλέησόν με.
LORD Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me.

Παναγία (or Υπεραγία) Θεοτόκε, σῶσον ἡμᾶς.
All holy (or Most holy) Birth-giver of God, save us.

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