Tomorrow we remember St. John of the Ladder. You’ve all seen the icon of ASt. John’s vision. The faithful are climbing to Christ, while the angels are assisting their climb, the demons are trying to pull the faithful from the ladder.
It is no mistake that the Church calls us to remember this powerful image on this 4th Sunday of Great Lent. We are, by now, facing the weariness of the spiritual str…uggle of Great Lent. We are, if we have applied ourselves, discovering inner weaknesses that we are now offering to God for His healing and we are repenting. We face the temptation of despondency and a sense of uselessness in light of our many sins. This is an illusion and a trick of the evil one to pull us from the Ladder of Divine Ascent.
Listen to our Epistle Lesson for today: “BRETHREN, we feel sure of better things that belong to salvation. For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness in realizing the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
The truth is as we have been focusing on our sins, and not on the sins of those around us, the Lord has been remembering our works of righteousness, our labors of love, and our many gifts given to us from His loving hand. Our Lord is not overlooking your efforts on this Ladder of Divine Ascent.
And this is all for our good. We remember our sins and learn to repent, and He constantly remembers our efforts, labors, and love in His Church. His memory of your “working out” your own salvation is always for your benefit. It protects you from self-righteousness and it also protects you from despondency because you know He sees your true self.
As we enter this 4th Sunday of Great Lent, let us take care not to allow the evil one to pull us away from our task of growing in our faith, of deepening our love and labor for God, and in forgetting that God loves us more than we, ourselves, know how to love and He remembers our works and labors. He saves all our tears, and He is patient and kind with our failings.
Today, don’t be discouraged. Keep climbing!