Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Despair = Suicide

From St John of the Ladder (5:38):
Nothing equals or excels God's mercies. Therefore, he who despairs is committing suicide. A sign of true repentance is the acknowledgment that we deserve all the afflictions, visible and invisible, that comes upon us, and even greater ones. Moses, after seeing God in the bush, returned again to Egypt, that is, to darkness and to the brick-making of Pharaoh, who was symbolical of the spiritual Pharaoh. But he went back again to the bush, and not only to the bush, but also up the mountain. Whoever has known divine vision will never despair of himself. Job became a beggar, bu he became twice as rich again.


polin said...

Christian asceticism...or stoicism? With St. John Climacus, sometimes it's hard to tell. Those pesky, irrational, 'negative' emotions were experienced by Christ in His humanity too, you know.

John Martin said...

Christ felt sorrow, but He didn't despair; even in the Garden of Gethsemane, He submitted Himself to the will of the Father.

Mark Montague said...

I think a stoic would not say that the afflictions that come upon us are deserved; for a stoic they are in a sense simply irrelevant to us, since they fall outside our control. That's a very different attitude than St. John is describing.