Continuing our look at St John Climacus’ The Ladder of Divine Ascent

St John moves on from renunciation of the world to detachment from the world. As reminded in the previous post, we are called as Christians to be in this world, but not of this world. Not tied to the things of this world. St John sums it up nicely in saying:

“If anyone thinks he is without attachment to some object, but is grieved at its loss, then he is completely deceiving himself.” (2:11)

This is our goal – to be detached from the world in this way. This doesn’t mean that we hate the world, nor that we set ourselves up against our Lord’s creation. We are called to love one another, to encourage and pray for one another. We are also commanded to work in order that we may eat, to raise our children in the fear of God, and other such things.

As we grow in Christ, we are to let go and stop clinging to the things of the world. What type of car we have, the house we live in, the size of our bank account – these things pale in comparison with our relationship with Christ. Can we step away from our computer or our cell phones and still be just as content with our life? Can we downsize our car or our home, or give up the many hours of free time that most modern Americans are afforded by our situation in life? If not, then we still have growing to do. And the truth of the matter is – the vast majority of us have a lot of growing still to do!

And how is it that we grow – ‘the law of God is understood in accordance with the fulfillment of the commandments of God’ (St Nikolai Velimirovich quoting St Mark the Ascetic). As we follow the commandments of our Lord in love, then we grow to be more like Him. As we grow to be more like Him, then we begin to naturally embody humanity as it was created to be. When we look at the life of our Lord, He was both an exile in this world, and detached from all of the things of this world.

May God be our strength!

Matthew Jackson