2023 Daily Lenten Journey – Day 28
When I was young growing up in Colorado, on more than one occasion I had the opportunity to climb a mountain. I will admit I never climbed a giant mountain, not one of those you see in the movies, but it was a mountain. I can still remember the first time my family went to the mountains for one of these adventures.
There I stood staring at this insurmountable challenge. My father was trying to convince me that I would be ok. All I needed to do was walk uphill one step at a time. Before I knew it, I would be at the top. So, there we went up the mountain. A few hours later and countless breaks, we found ourselves above the trees gazing at a beauty I never knew existed. I was filled with joy and a sense of accomplishment. A few months later, I faced the same mountain, this time with my school. I found myself giving the same advice to my peers that my father had given me.
On the Fourth Sunday of Great Lent, the Church commemorates the memory of Saint John of the Ladder. His famous book, Ladder of Divine Ascent, expresses 30 chapters one leading to another, from earth to heaven. As we climb the ladder we grow closer and closer to God. Just as I was taught by my father, one step at a time and before you know it, we’re in heaven.
As you entered the Church today you venerated an icon of this ladder. You probably noticed people falling from the ladder. You also noticed demons pulling, pushing, and enticing people off the ladder. At the top of the Ladder, our Lord welcomes us into heaven. Here’s why this image is so important for us to understand.
Just as my father helped me climb the mountain, Saint John is helping us climb the ladder. Just as My father’s wisdom helped me learn patience to climb one step at a time. Saint John helps us to be patient and we will find ourselves with God in heaven. We will never get to the top if we don’t start.
I was unable to start the climb that day long ago staring at the top of the mountain. I had to focus on step one. If we focus on the distance we need to climb, we will never begin. Thankfully we have God and His Church to guide us. Let’s start climbing.