Saint John of the Ladder was born in Syria and entered the monastery at the age of sixteen. After the death of his spiritual father, Martyrius John, the saint withdrew to a hermitage, where he lived for some twenty years, studying the lives of the saints. When he was seventy-five, the monks of Sinai persuaded him return to serve as their abbot. Four years later he resigned his charge and returned to his hermitage to prepare for death. His Ladder of Divine Ascent is beloved as a vision of the human struggle to partake of God’s unending Life.


By its very nature, prayer

avails both our conversation

and our union with the God.

Its sure effect is (notice now!) to hold

the world together. Prayer

is both the mother and the daughter

of our tears, and occasions expiation of all sin. It is a bridge

across temptation and a wall

against affliction, both a future

joy and present act, endlessly

opening to a flood of graces.

From Love’s Immensity: Mystics on the Endless Life by Scott Cairns.  Available here. Thank you, Dr. Cairns, for sharing this with us.

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