A Ladder from Earth to Heaven
“Repentance is reconciliation with the Lord by the practice of good deeds contrary to the sins.” —St. John Climacus
I think it’s safe to say we’ve been living in pretty tough times recently. We need to be reminded of our faith to keep it strong, even more so when we face challenges as Orthodox Christians. Great Lent is a good time—maybe the best time—to remind ourselves and each other of all the gifts God provides.
One of those gifts is the example of the saints. St. John Climacus, or St. John of the Ladder, had a vision of Christians making their way from earth up a ladder to Paradise. He saw their struggles on the way up, and he saw lots of them dragged down by temptation and sin. This metaphor is meant as a model for us. We get caught up in the swirl of everyday life, and climbing the ladder toward Christ isn’t easy. Let’s not lose sight of the wonderful saints and martyrs whose examples can inspire us and teach us.
As Orthodox Christians, we’re called to witness for our faith. Sometimes we do that in works, sometimes in other ways. Repentance is hard, but it’s how we come home to Christ. It’s part of how we climb that ladder, and our works can reflect our repentance. Maybe we offer a listening ear; maybe we cook a meal or repair a home; maybe we pray for our enemies. Let’s face it, maybe we can pray for our own family and friends who have fallen by the wayside either through our own fault or theirs. Never underestimate God’s power. When we trust Him and ask Him, He shows us the way.
Let’s encourage each other this Great Lent. Come, taste and see how good the Lord is. Amen.
This week’s reflection is written by Very Reverend Father Serge Veselinovich, of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in East Chicago, IN.
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