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Scott P. Richert

Thought of the Day: The Solitary Life

By March 18, 2014

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In "Thought of the Day: Detachment," we looked at the true nature of Christian detachment, which turns out to be an attachment to God. Today, in this short passage from St. John Climacus' great spiritual work The Ladder of Divine Ascent (read every Lent by many Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox), we receive some sound advice on how those of us who are in the world can still be detached from it:

Some people living carelessly in the world have asked me: "We have wives and are beset with social cares, and how can we lead the solitary life?" I replied to them: "Do all the good you can; do not speak evil of anyone; do not steal from anyone; do not lie to anyone; do not be arrogant towards anyone; do not hate anyone; do not be absent from the divine services; be compassionate to the needy; do not offend anyone; do not wreck another man's domestic happiness, and be content with what your own wives can give you. If you behave in this way, you will not be far from the Kingdom of Heaven."
—From St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent (Boston, MA: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 2001)

Excellent words to keep before our eyes as we make our way through the 40 days of Lent.

More Lenten Thoughts of the Day:

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February 27, 2009 at 2:58 pm
(1) Ave Maria Gratia Plena says:

It is one of the insights of the movement Opus Dei that we are called to be “contemplatives in the middle of the world.” This is something their founder St Josemaria Escriva often referred to. Here is one example from Friends of God Point 67 http://www.escrivaworks.org/book/friends_of_god-point-67.htm
>>Rest assured that it is not difficult to convert work into a prayerful dialogue. As soon as you offer it up and then set to work, God is already listening and giving encouragement. We acquire the style of contemplative souls, in the midst of our daily work! Because we become certain that he is watching us, while he asks us to conquer ourselves anew: a little sacrifice here, a smile there for someone who bothers us, beginning the least pleasant but most urgent job first, carefulness in little details of order, perseverance in the fulfilment of our duty when it would be so easy to abandon it, not leaving for tomorrow what should be finished today: and all this, to please him, Our Father God! On your desk or in some inconspicuous place that nobody notices, you perhaps place your crucifix to awaken in you a contemplative spirit and to act as a textbook for your mind and soul where you learn the lessons of service.

If you make up your mind to follow these ways of contemplation, in the midst of your ordinary work, without doing anything odd or withdrawing from the world, you will immediately feel that you are a friend of the Master, with the God-given task of opening up the divine ways of the earth to the whole of mankind

April 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm
(2) Michael says:

Dear Scott,
Never heard of that book, but the title sounds intriguing.
God bless you.

April 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm
(3) Scott P. Richert says:

It’s one of the great classics of Eastern Christianity. I highly recommend it, especially in the edition that I cited above (a very nicely produced hardcover).

March 24, 2012 at 12:12 am
(4) Fr Teatao Tekitanga says:

I would like to say a few words on the “Thoughts of the day detachment.” What would say when someone is really evil, I mean he communicates with demons and is creating chaos in the church? What is worse is that he is in the ministry?
However, I tried to help the Church by doing what I can, first to help him by talking about his diabolos life. In return he makes his own moves around the corner to fight back to me and others.
Would do you understand all this?
I am looking forward to hear from you for your sharing on this matter.
Thanks. God bless.
Fr Teatao

March 22, 2014 at 6:32 am
(5) Faith says:

Dear Scott, thank you for sharing.

I’m here in Zambia. How do I buy a copy of the book? I’m trying to grow in my spiritual life.

God bless.

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