Therefore, the Christian must be one who takes up his cross, and his life, likewise, must be an ascetic labour of bearing that cross. Whatever the outward circumstance of his life, be he monk or layman, it is of no consequence. In either case, if he does not force himself to mount upwards, then, of a certainty, he will fall lower and lower.Knowing that the word of faith is nigh me is not an excuse for doing nothing. There is a good discipline and a realistic work in Christ, even if the yoke is easy and the burden is light.
Excerpt from a sermon of Metropolitan Philaret
of Moscow (1782-1867)of New York (d 1985), given on the Fourth Sunday of Lent, the Sunday of St John of the Ladder.
But this does not apply only to the 'Christian'. St John in the ladder episode (1:51) has the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man. Note that it is not that Jacob is beautiful or that his face is engraved on the heavenly throne - though both these things might well be true - or that we need some way of getting angels to and from heaven. (See The Ladder of Jacob, by James Kugel for an exploration of these explanations). The angels ascend and descend on the Son of Man - so the striving applies to all. The Son of Man is the ladder itself. There is no falling. There is willing and enabled ascent and descent. And we are not the angels but we all comprise the ladder. The angels, I suggest, are interested in the ladder itself and are themselves messengers of its composition.
|ו וַתְּחַסְּרֵהוּ מְּעַט, מֵאֱלֹהִים; וְכָבוֹד וְהָדָר תְּעַטְּרֵהוּ.||6 You have made it a little lower than the angels, and crowned it with glory and honour.|
If, as is implied in a prominent rung of the ladder (ht Iyov), "the salvific grace of God is given only by means of Jesus and[?] the Church", then we must address the unity of the Son of Man as ladder and not imagine that our own constructs will suffice to bring heaven to earth or earth to heaven. The offense is in the claim to unity made in the person of Jesus. The offense of history is in our parochial contention, thus disassembling this narrow gate. We are tripping the angels on their way to and fro on our behalf.
(I fail to see where that word 'and' came from. In my software analysis, 'and' in a module definition is always a tip off that your design lacks coherence.)