The Ladder of Faith Hope and Love

Benedict XVI spoke about the work of John Climacus and his treatise on the spiritual life, the Ladder of Ascent with its thirty steps. He said that this teaching “written by a hermit monk who lived 1,400 years ago” could say something to us today: “such a monastic life is only a great symbol of the life of the baptized, of Christian life. It shows, to say it one way, in large letters what we write every day with little letters. It is a prophetic symbol that reveals what is the life of the baptized, in communion with Christ, with his death and resurrection. For me, it is of particularly importance the fact that the culmination of the scale, the last rungs are at the same time the fundamental, initial, simplest virtues: faith, hope and charity. These are not virtues accessible only to moral heroes, but are the gift of God for all the baptized. In them our life too grows. The beginning is also the end; the starting point is also the arriving point: The whole path goes toward an ever more radical fulfillment of faith, hope and charity. In these virtues, the ladder is present...Let us use, therefore, this ladder of faith, of hope and of charity, and we will thus arrive to true life.”

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