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Facing Provocations, Thoughts, and Temptations: Taking Jesus as our Guide

Retreat at the Monastery of St John March 16, 17, and 18 2018

led by Fr Cosmas


On the fourth Sunday of Great Lent we celebrate St John of the Ladder and his book, the Ladder of Divine Ascent. His book contains a wealth of counsel on the spiritual life, written for monks at the request of the abbot of another monastery. Some readers — including some of us monks — may find it so dense, though, that they have a hard time applying it to their lives. It’s almost as if St John catalogued and analyzed everything there was to say on the subject so thoroughly that we don’t know where to start in putting it to use.


Why not approach the topic of provocations, thoughts, and temptations in a more basic way? Why not draw on passages in the Gospels that show how Jesus handled these challenges? After all, the life and teaching of Jesus was as much a basic point of reference for St John of the Ladder as it is for us. Then those who want to go back to read — or re-read — the Ladder will gain a new appreciation of St John’s treatment, and all of us will have a deeper understanding of the Gospel readings we will encounter during Holy Week. 

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