Saturday, March 25, 2023

Fourth Sunday of the Great Fast (St. John Climacus)

 Hello everyone, and welcome back to our Lenten journey! 😁 We're really getting there, aren't we? We lit the 4th candle on our festal wreath this past weekend, and by now we're nearly done with the 5th week, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. We are indeed past the halfway point of this important liturgical season, and I always evaluate how my goals are going at that juncture. As is so often the case, they're not going nearly as well as I'd like. πŸ˜‚ I haven't been very consistent with my Liturgy of the Hours, and the book I planned to read this Lent hasn't even been cracked open. My brain has been pretty busy these days fretting over lots of changes with my kids. Totally normal growing up stuff, mind you, but very difficult for anxious mothers!

However, I'm not abandoning ship with Liturgy of the Hours! I'm getting it in when I can, and I just read a new booklet on this devotion that I will be sharing with you next week, stay tuned for that! Very excited about a book review post. And Holy Week will be here soon which always entails magical liturgical things and so many spiritual blessings, so soldier on we must.

This past weekend in the Byzantine rite was themed on St. John Climacus, who is known for describing the image of the Ladder of Divine Ascent in the spiritual life:

From the Orthodox Wiki:

The Ladder of Divine Ascent is an ascetical treatise on avoiding vice and practicing virtue so that at the end, salvation can be obtained. Written by Saint John Climacus initially for monastics, it has become one of the most highly influential and important works used by the Church as far as guiding the faithful to a God-centered life, second only to Holy Scripture.

There is also a related icon known by the same title. It depicts many people climbing a ladder; at the top is Jesus Christ, prepared to receive the climbers into Heaven. Also shown are angels helping the climbers, and demons attempting to shoot with arrows or drag down the climbers, no matter how high up the ladder they may be. Most versions of the icon show at least one person falling.

Fascinating stuff! We gathered after liturgy to chat details about the upcoming Easter Bazaar, and Anne and I are putting together a basket for the raffle themed around gardening. We've had a fun time putting it together! More details on all of that next week.

How is your Lent going as we near Holy Week, friends? I love taking this journey together each year! πŸ€—

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