St. John Climacus (509 – 603)
Dispassion Before the World and the Senses
The firmament has the stars for its beauty, and dispassion has the virtues for its adornment. For by dispassion I mean nothing other than the Heaven of the mind within the heart, which regards the wiles of the demons as mere pranks. And so he is preeminently dispassionate who has made his flesh incorruptible, who has raised his mind above creatures and has subdued all his senses to it, and who keeps his soul before the face of the Lord, ever reaching out to Him even beyond his strength.
~ The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Holy Transfiguration Monastery Press, Boston, 1978, Step 29:2-3.
Each Animal Bears the Wisdom of the Creator
Nothing is without order and purpose in the animal kingdom; each animal bears the wisdom of the Creator and testifies of Him. God granted man and animals many natural attributes, such as compassion, love, feelings… for even dumb animals bewail the loss of one of their own.”
~ The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Paulist Press, New York, 1982, p. 238.
John Climacus entered monastic struggle as a young teenager and spent most of his life in a monastery on the slopes of Mt. Sinai. He is best known as the author of a famous text on spiritual attainment, The Ladder of Divine Ascent. In this text based upon inspiration from prayer and the wisdom gained from decades of ascetic labors, St. John lays out a step-by-step approach to Godliness based upon the acquisition of the virtues and the purging of the vices. His works have ecological relevance because they deal with the struggle to attain harmlessness, service, spiritual insight and all of the other virtues. These taken together represent the qualities of Christ in human form, and therefore epitomize a right relationship to God and neighbor. and have the effect of helping to open the lessons of creation for the one who would read it as a book of wisdom.