ClimacusMourning, according to God, is sadness of soul, and the disposition of a sorrowing heart, which ever madly seeks that for which it thirsts;

and when it fails in its quest, it painfully pursues it, and follows in its wake grievously lamenting.

Or thus: mourning is a golden spur in a soul which is stripped of all attachment and of all ties, fixed by holy sorrow to watch over the heart.

[…] A characteristic of those who are still progressing in blessed mourning is temperance and silence of the lips;

and of those who have made progress—freedom from anger and patient endurance of injuries;

and of the perfect—humility, thirst for dishonours, voluntary craving for involuntary afflictions, non-condemnation of sinners, compassion even beyond one’s strength.

The first are acceptable, the second laudable; but blessed are those who hunger for hardship and thirst for dishonour, for they shall have their fill of the food that does not cloy.

[…]  Theology will not suit mourners, for it is of a nature to dissolve their mourning. For the theologian is like one who sits in a teacher’s seat, whereas the mourner is like one who spends his days on a dung heap and in rags.

That is why David, so I think, although he was a teacher and was wise, replied to those who questioned him when he was mourning: ‘How shall I sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?’—that is to say, the land of passions.

Both in creation and in compunction there is that which moves itself and that which is moved by something else.

When the soul becomes tearful, moist and tender without effort or trouble, then let us run, for the Lord has come uninvited, and is giving us the sponge of God-loving sorrow and the cool water of devout tears to wipe out the record of our sins.

Guard these tears as the apple of your eye until they withdraw. Great is the power of this compunction—greater than that which comes as a result of our effort and meditation.

He who mourns when he wishes has not attained the beauty of mourning, but rather he who mourns on the subjects of his choice, and not even on these, but on what God wants.

The ugly tears of vainglory are often interwoven with mourning which is pleasing to God. Acting devoutly, we shall find this out by experiment when we see ourselves mourning and still doing evil.

[…] When our soul leaves this world we shall not be blamed for not having worked miracles, or for not having been theologians or contemplatives. But we shall certainly have to give an account to God of why we have not unceasingly mourned.

John Climacus (c.575-c.650): The Ladder of Divine Ascent, step 7 “on mourning which causes joy”, 1, 4, 24-26, 70, translated by Archimandrite Lazarus Moore (Harper & Brothers, 1959) @ Prudence True.

Advertisements