The Ladder of Divine Ascent – Step 24, The First Seven Paragraphs

Step 24 On meekness, simplicity, guilelessness which come not from nature but from habit, and about malice.

1. The morning light precedes the sun, and the precursor of all humility is meekness. Therefore let us hear in what order the Light arranges these virtues, for He says: Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble in heart.* So then before looking at the sun, which is humility, we must be illumined by the light, which is meekness, and then we can look with a clear gaze at the sun. For it is impossible, absolutely impossible, to gaze upon the sun before we have experienced that light, as we have learnt from the order in which the Lord has put these virtues.

2. Meekness is an unchangeable state of mind, which remains the same in honour and dishonour.

3. Meekness consists in praying calmly and sincerely for a troublesome neighbour.

4. Meekness is a rock overlooking the sea of irritability, which breaks all the waves that dash against it yet remains completely unmoved.

5. Meekness is the buttress of patience, the door, or rather, the mother of love, and the foundations of discernment, for it is said: The Lord will teach the meek His way.1 It prepares us for the forgiveness of sins; it is boldness in prayer, an abode of the Holy Spirit. But to whom shall I look? Even to him that is meek and quiet.

6. Meekness is the fellow-worker of obedience, the guide of the brotherhood, a curb for the furious, a check to the irritable, a minister of joy, the imitation of Christ, something proper to angels, shackles for demons, a shield against peevishness.

7. In meek hearts the Lord finds rest, but a turbulent soul is a seat of the devil.

* St. Matthew xi, 29.

** Psalm xxiv, 9.