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Ascending the Heights: A Layman's Guide to the Ladder of Divine Ascent Paperback – 1 Jan 1999

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Conciliar Press (1 Jan. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888212179
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888212174
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 14 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,805,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


St. John Climacus's "The Ladder of Divine Ascent " is recognised as one of the seminal guides to Orthodox spiritual life. . Here a contemporary Orthodox priest shows how it can be applied to our lives today. Treats difficult subjects in a very practical way.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is an Orthodox Christian book. St. John Climacus describes what happens to a soul when it dies as he had seen it in a vision.The author John Mack explains everything in detail. From how severe a sin or a passion is, how to avoid it or how to undo it. You'll be surprised as to how many daily things we don't consider sinful is actually a sin! It's a great christian book which I think all christians must read!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa3ce24a4) out of 5 stars 8 reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1b015c4) out of 5 stars Highlights & commentary on a truly classic Christian book 23 Jan. 2002
By X. Libris - Published on
Format: Paperback
The subtitle of this volume is: "A Layman's guide to the Ladder of Divine Ascent." While this may reflect the publisher's intent, I think it could be more accurately described as: "Key quotes from the Ladder of Divine Ascent with contemporary Orthodox commentary."
Although I have only read portions of the original 6th century classic work by St. John Climacus (also known as John of the Ladder), I can say that, while Father John Mack does an excellent job of introducing contemporary readers to this great work, he barely scratches the surface. Having said that, Fr. Mack has been able to shed light on each of the 30 steps of the ladder and make them relevant for the non-monastic reader.
Accompanying Amazon's book description, you have the opportunity to view the table of contents, which gives you Fr. Mack's contemporary names for each of the steps. You can also read the first chapter, which will give you an idea of the content and structure of his writing.
Hopefully one reading of this volume will whet your appetite for tackling the entire Ladder of Divine Ascent, which is filled with pearls of wisdom. lists various translations of "The Ladder," however I'm only familiar with one from "The Classics of Western Spirituality," which contains an informative introduction by Bishop Kallistos Ware. This is the one that was used for discussion in our Orthodox church men's group.
Just as most Orthodox monastic communities read one step of The Ladder on each weekday during Great Lent, I'm hoping to reread (and read aloud to my family) Fr. John Mack's "Ascending the Heights" during the next Lenten period.
Now if I can only begin to put into practice what I have learned here, I may be on the road to salvation. May God help me.
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1b0175c) out of 5 stars A must-read book for every orthodox Christian 8 May 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
I read "Ascending the Heights" during this last Lenten season and I found it very useful help for my daily struggle with my passions. A primer to St. John Climacus' spiritual classic, this book was written for contemporary Christians living in the world but not of this world. In our effort to grow closer to Christ, to simplify our lives, to control our thoughts and actions, this easy-to-read book can enrich us all with the wisdom of the Church Fathers.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3ce8c0c) out of 5 stars Simply outstanding! 5 Mar. 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This little book is a beautiful invitation to a deeper spiritual life for the Orthodox Christians of this age. Using down to earth examples it helps the reader understand how St. John of the Ladder's masterpiece ("The Ladder") relates to the very life of the modern Christian. It is a compelling hint that the works of the Holy Fathers do apply to us and do provide invaluable advice. Their writings are not for monastics but for every person who wants to be a Christian ( = to follow Christ).
The book reveals many passions present "in disguise" in our lives and offers practical advice on how to fight them. A contemporary Father once made the remark that Christians did not have, in the past, so many spiritual writings as we do today, but very few; they followed what they had and found salvation. I dare to claim that this book is also enough for those working on their salvation, provided they seriously try to put it in practice!
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f1455e8) out of 5 stars A Concise Practical Guide to Avoiding Lifes' Pitfalls 22 Oct. 2004
By fritz Fratz - Published on
Format: Paperback
I greatly enjoyed this little tome, as it sets out in 30 bite sized chapters a useable and distilled essence of Saint John Climacus's " Ladder of Divine Ascent". Each one of the thirty hurdles seems at first blush quite trivial, but an honest analysis of ones' daily life will quickly reveal how we stumble on each one of the rungs of the proverbial ladder on a daily basis. This is one of those books you should probably revert to every few years, not only as a refresher, but also for purposes of regeneration and reaffirmation. Life and its circumstances are tough, but the reassurance and guidance this little gem provides us with will serve to re center us on the path. The beauty of this book is that it is valid for members of any creed or philosophical outlook, and the underlying text represents a pinnacle of Orthodox Christian teaching.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f3721a4) out of 5 stars An eye opener 29 Mar. 2002
By N. K. Steinhoff - Published on
Format: Paperback
Fr. John allows the Ladder to show us how low we tend to set the bar in our lives as modern Christians. "Ascending the Heights" goes through various aspects of our lives - our relationships, our passions, our worship, our home, work and family lives, and so on - and gives us concrete illustrations of where we fall down, and shows the heights to which we as Christians (indeed, as *humans*) are called. Knowing Father John's personal story makes this book that much more compelling.
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