Wednesday Dec 14, 2022
The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter VII: On Joy-Making Mourning, Part III
Even in the act of mourning the loss of a loved one, our thoughts can return very quickly to the things of this world. The reality of death is something that we rarely linger long with in our thoughts and imagination even when it draws close to us.
Yet, in the writings of the fathers, it is precisely the urgency that the awareness of the brevity of our life places upon us that is so important. We must not neglect the fact that our life in this world is very short.
What is it that we spend our time on? What is the focus of our energy? Do we desire God and what He alone can fill within the human heart or are we constantly seeking the things of this world?
St. John’s writing on mourning over one’s sin is a stark reminder of who we are as human beings. We have almost an infinite capacity for self-delusion and self-deception. Even the shedding of tears can be filled with self-esteem or concern with self image more than with the sorrow over the diminishment of the relationship of love with God. Do we really love virtue and hate sin? Is there an urgent longing for God that leads to zeal in the spiritual life and prayer or do we easily slide into sloth and negligence? Do we distract ourselves with intellectual discussions about the faith and yet never practice the mourning of which St. John speaks?
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