[Türkçe çeviri için yorum bölümüne bkz.]
‘Those of us who wish to go out of Egypt and to fly from Pharaoh, certainly need some Moses as a mediator with God and from God, who, standing between action and contemplation, will raise hands of prayer for us to God, so that guided by Him we may cross the sea of sin and rout the Amalek of the passions.’
‘That is why those who have surrendered themselves to God, deceive themselves if they suppose that they have no need of a director. Those who came out of Egypt had Moses as their guide, and those who fled from Sodom had an angel. The former are like those who are healed of the passions of the soul by the care of physicians: these are they who come out of Egypt. The latter are like those who long to put off the uncleanness of the wretched body. That is why they need a helper, an angel, so to speak, or at least one equal to an angel. For in proportion to the corruption of our wounds we need a director who is indeed an expert and a physician.’
…/…‘A great labour with much unseen suffering is needed, very great indeed, especially for those who lived carelessly until now, so that our intellect which resembles a greedy and aggressive dog comes finally, through simplicity, kindness and zeal, to only love but purity and vigilence. But let us who are weak and dominated by our passions have the courage to offer our incapacity and natural weakness to Christ with unhesitating faith, and confess them to him; and we shall be certain to obtain his help, even beyond our merit, if only we unceasingly go right down to the depth of humility.’
‘The first degree, of the ladder of spiritual love, according to Ruysbroek, is when will, the good will, the will that is good, becomes that of God’s, having renounced itself. First degree of the union with God. And without doubt, we would not know how to go to God if the spirit, the will, does not engage us to, does not bend towards it.
But, we need to understand it deeper. This ‘good will’ is what the angels in Bethlehem sing, singing at the same time ‘glory to God in the Highest’, heralding peace on earth. This ‘good will’ is also depicted with Christ’s agony: ‘ May your will be done, Father, and not mine.’
And this is how the prayer taught by Christ to his disciples starts: ‘ Our Father who is in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, may thy will be done…’
The second degree: Voluntary poverty. This is also imitating Christ. And there is no other way towards God than by imitating Christ, the perfect man, and to follow him, listening to his word: The Gospel.
Third degree: Purity of heart and body. And we imply here one of the Beatitudes: ‘ Blessed the pure in heart, for they will see God’.
Fourth degree: Humility, which is the ‘living core of sainthood’. It is made of obedience, kindness and patience, and the abandonment of personal will.
Fifth degree: Nobility. This virtue may come as a surprise. And we link it first of all to the medieval world, to Ruysbroek’s time, and to the ‘courteous’ tradition as it was celebrated by Hadewijch of Anvers, mystic and poetess of the XIIIth century, whom Ruysbroek knew well the work. But beyond the character of a time, this nobility is a Christian character. It reminds us that Christ is Lord, Our Lord. It reminds us that the glory of God demands that we serve it, even though our service is useless: But then his glory clothes us. It reminds us God’s honor and the sworn oath, and that oath and sacrament come from the same root (serment and sacrement in French): Sacer. It reminds us that knighthood is above all of a spiritual nature and saint Paul himself calls the weapons of inward spiritual warfare.
And nobility and self-lowering are inseparable. The Lord is Lord of glory and humility. The acme of glory is in the humble service of mankind, that is God.
The six degree: The inward eye contemplates the eternal truth. Here starts the contemplative life: The union with the Trinity.
The seventh degree is the ultimate stage of contemplative life. The soul enjoys divine essence.’
Master Eckhart said:
‘There are on Earth some people who give birth spiritually to our Lord like his mother did give birth to him corporeally.’
Some asked who they where:
‘They are free of things’, he answered.
‘They contemplate the mirror of truth and they achieve this without knowing it.’
‘They are on Earth, but their dwelling is in Heaven.’
‘They are rooted in rest’
‘They go like little children.’
First Meditation : Saint John Climacus, ‘The ladder of holy ascent‘. Chapter 1. Translated by Archimandrite Lazarus Moore (Harper & Brothers, 1959)
Second Meditation : Translated into English from Claude-Henri Rocquet’s beautiful and touching foreword and presentation in, ‘Jean Ruysbroek, the seven degrees of the ladder of spiritual love’. DDB, 2000. English translation of Ruysbroek’s work here
Third Meditation : Translated from the French; ‘Sayings of Master Eckhart’. Arfuyen, 2003.