SAINT JOHN CLIMACUS (JOHN of the LADDER) (c.525-605), abbot
Today, the Church honors Saint John Climacus, who devoted his time to prayer and study, aiming to always grow in knowledge of the Divine will as well as personal sanctity.
John was born about the year 525 in Palestine. As a youth, he excelled in his studies and was highly regarded by his peers for his knowledge. At the age of sixteen, John decided to leave the busyness and hectic life of the world around him, and he retired to a hermitage near the base of Mount Sinai.
For the next four years, John spent his time in prayer, fasting, meditation and discernment while preparing to enter the religious life, all the while curbing his vices and working to perfect his virtues.
After professing his solemn vows, John began to spend more of his time studying Scripture and the writings of the early Fathers of the Church. He became very knowledgeable in these subjects, and, as John progressed in years and wisdom, many of the religious living on Mount Sinai began to seek his counsel in spiritual matters. He freely offered his advice and was highly regarded for his wisdom and holiness.
Around the year 600, the abbot of all the religious in the region of Mount Sinai died, and John was chosen to replace him. John accepted this responsibility and was abbot until his death on March 30, 605, always trying to lead through his own example of humility and his constant desire to grow in personal holiness.
Near the end of his life, John was encouraged to share his knowledge and he wrote “Scala Paradisi (The Ladder to Paradise or The Ladder of Divine Ascent)” This work was a collection of sayings and examples to illustrate how to live the monastic life, which was a source of study for fifteen centuries (and is still being read today) to influence and guide those seeking the holy life. From this work, he received the name Climacus, a derivative from the Latin root for klimax or ladder.
The following prayer was composed by Saint John Climacus, who always sought to grow in his relationship of love with his Creator and Savior:
“My God, I pretend to nothing upon this Earth, except to be so firmly united to You by prayer that to be separated from You may be impossible; let others desire riches and glory; for my part, I desire but one thing, and that is to be inseparably united to You, and to place in You alone all my hopes of happiness and repose.”
We commemorate his feastday on March 30.
(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, ewtn.com/library and newadvent.org)
(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Religious ~ abbot)
“Lord, in Your abbot, Saint John, You give an example of the Gospel lived to perfection. Help us to follow him by keeping before us the things of Heaven amid all the changes of this world.
“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”