St. John Climacus

“The insensitive man is . . . a scholar who contradicts himself, a blind man teaching sight to others. He talks about healing a wound and does not stop making it worse. He complains about what has happened and does not stop eating what is harmful. . . . And the wretched man is in no way shamed by his own words. ‘I’m doing wrong,’ he cries, and zealously continues to do so. . . . He talks profoundly about death and acts as if he will never die. . . . He has plenty to say about self-control and fights for a gourmet life. . . . He recites what he has learnt about keeping vigil, and at once drops off to sleep. Prayer he extols, and runs from it as if from a plague. Blessings he showers on obedience, and is the first to disobey. . . . He gorges himself, and is sorry, and a little later is at it again. He blesses silence and cannot stop talking about it. He teaches meekness and frequently gets angry while he is teaching it. . . . In front of others he criticizes himself for being vainglorious, and in making the admission is looking for glory.”

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