The Holy Virtues Are Like the Ladder of Jacob

…and the unholy vices are like the chains that fell off the chief apostle Peter. The virtues lead from one to another and carry heavenward the man who chooses them. Vices on the other hand beget and stifle one another.

So writes John Climacus (St. John of the Ladder).

In this middle section of his work, John discusses anger and how from anger comes malice, or the remembrance of things wrong. Malice, in turn, begets slander.

“Whom does this describe? There are girls who flaunt their shamelessness, but there are others who are much worse, for they put on the appearance of great modesty while secretly engaging abominable behavior.”

I have also heard what John heard 1,600 years ago–“These evildoers claimed to be acting out of love and concern for the victim of their slander.”

An entire book could be written from this admonition from the tenth step, “To pass judgement on another is to usurp shamelessly a prerogative of God, and to condemn is to ruin one’s soul.”

And, “A charitable and sensible mind takes careful note of the virtues it observes in another, while the fool goes looking for faults and defects.”

He who has practiced this tenth step has practiced love.

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