Let us honor John, that pride of ascetics, that angel on earth, that man of God in heaven, that adornment of the world, and that bliss of virtues and good deeds; for, planted in the house of God, he flourished with justice; and, like a cedar tree in the wilderness, he caused the flock of Christ to grow, those sheep endowed with speech, in righteousness and justice.
-Vespers of the Feast
On the fourth Sunday in Lent we commemorate St. John , the great seventh-Century ascetic and author of The Ladder of Divine Ascent . As we continue the Lenten fast, we recall St. John's account of the labors necessary to approach God, and we take comfort in the Lord's words: "he who endures to the end will be saved" (Mt 24:13).
The lessening of evil breeds abstinence from evil; and
abstinence from evil is the beginning of repentance; and
the beginning of repentance is the beginning of salvation; and the beginning of salvation is a good resolve; and
a good resolve is the mother of labors. And
the beginning of labors is the virtues; and
the beginning of the virtues is a flowering, and
the flowering of virtue is the beginning of activity. And
the offspring of virtue is perseverance; and
the fruit and offspring of persevering practice is habit, and
the child of habit is character. And
good character is the mother of fear; and
fear gives birth to the keeping of commandments in which I include both Heavenly and earthly. And
the keeping of the commandments is a sign of love; and
the beginning of love is an abundance of humility; and
an abundance of humility is the daughter of dispassion; and
the acquisition of the latter is the fullness of love, that is to say, the perfect indwelling of God in those who through dispassion are pure in heart, for they shall see God.
And to Him the glory for all eternity. Amen.
(from Step 27)