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Spiritual Levels




In the Virtues Levels Book by Youhanna Klimakos, there are 30 steps of which most are maybe about the monastic life…


As for the spiritual life in general, there are a least three main steps and they are: Life of Repentance, Life of Holiness, and Life of Perfection.

And each of these steps has many details and branches. As for the Repentance, because he beginning of the Lord Christ’s preaching was his saying: “the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:15). He also said: “unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Lk 13:3, 5).


􀂙 And about Holiness, the apostle says: “but as He

who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your

conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy”

(1 P 1:15, 16) (Lv 11:44).

And about Perfection, the Lord says in His

sermon on the mountain “Therefore you shall be

perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Mt


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

_The Life of Repentance:_

If the sin is a separation from God and a

controversy with Him, then repentance is the

beginning of reconciliation with God. As the

apostle says: “be reconciled to God” (2 Co 5:20).

Repentance, then is the beginning of a new pure

relationship with God. It is a transfer from darkness

to light, and a return from the far country to the

Father’s bosom.

And repentance is preceded or is prepared

for through: Knowledge and God’s fear:

One’s knowledge that He is the God’s son, and

created on the image and according to the likeness of

God, so it is inappropriate for him to sin, his

knowledge that he is a temple for God’s Spirit, and

God’s Spirit dwells in him (1 Co 3:16). It is

inappropriate for him, with his sin, to grieve the Holy

Spirit of God (Eph 4:30),… And his knowledge also

that through sin, he makes God angry with him, and

he puts himself to God’s anger and punishment on

Earth and in Heaven…

Therefore, from all his heart he fears the Lord’s

saying: “unless you repent you will all likewise perish”

(Lk 13:3, 5).

And all this admits God’s fear in his heart so he

does not sin.

And the bible talked about God’s fear and it was

said that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of

wisdom” (Ps 111:10). And “The fear of the LORD is

the beginning of wisdom” (Pr 9:10). And it is

obvious that the man, while committing the sin, does

not have God’s fear in his heart or before his eyes.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

And no one should say “We have to love God, not

to fear Him”. As the apostle says “There is no fear in

love; but perfect love casts out fear” (1 Jn 4:18)… so

whom of us reached the perfect love level?! The Lord

says: “he who loves Me, keeps my commandments”

and “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in

My love” (Jn 15:10).

So we walk in the fear, and the fear at the

end will take us to God’s love.

He who loves God does not sin. And if he stays

away from sin, he reaches God’s love. Or God pours

love in his heart through the Holy Spirit.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

And repentance should be comprehensive,

covering all sin types with all their details: I mean the

body sins, the senses sins, the thought sins and the

mind and intentions sins.

And repentance is not only refraining from

sin in action.

Maybe the person stops doing this sin, but it still

exists in a heart desire, so he sins in his heart, and

did not repent yet… Or the sin may be existing in his

intention without him doing it! Or in his dreams

because his subconscious is not purified yet! And St.

Jerome said “There may be people who have chastity

in their bodies while their souls are committing

adultery!!”. Therefore, the fathers said:

“The perfection of repentance is the hatred

of sin”.

And he who hates the sin, the sin desire is not in

his heart, in his intention, in his thinking nor in his

subconscious, but he is totally purified, and so he

does not sin…

And we say that about all sin types… and so he

has moved from the negatives attached with sins to

the positive sides of repentance.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

And he who repents does not go back to the sin

because he who does maybe is in a mere trial to

repent and not in a full comprehensive repentance.

Therefore, the true repentants, like St.

Moses the Black, St. Augustine and Mary the

Coptic… transferred by growing in repentance

to the life of holiness.

The repentance in their life is a full transformation

point, and a full change from a life to another,

without regretting and without return… but with all


Someone said about the relation between the

servant and the served ones:

“When I love them, O Lord, like You love the,

and when I love them like You loved me and out

Yourself for me, at that time, I am entrusted on their


Yes my brothers, the service of others, in any

mean, is necessary in the life of virtue, and an

evidence of loving our neighbor, which is a branch of

the full love that the all the Law and the prophets

hang on, and the biggest factor of this love is leading

others to the Kingdom, and working on saving their


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

It was said about the great virtues: “faith, hope

and love but the greatest of these is love” (1 Co

13:13). So what about the virtue of hope in your life?

And what about faith?

I do not mean by faith our repeating the Orthodox

Creed. But I mean your practical faith: Your belief

that God sees all what you do, hears all what you say,

and knows all what you feel and think of. Also the

faith in which you believe in God’s keeping you,

because the believer does not get afraid, but says as

in the psalm: “though I walk through the valley of the

shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with

me;” (Ps 23).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

The one who grows in the life of holiness, reaches

the life of perfection:

_The Life of Perfection:_

And we mean relative perfection: relative to

the human abilities and his level, and relative to

the grace God grants him.

As for the absolute perfection, it is for God


And the person grows in perfection, and moves

up from one level to another, because “for one star

differs from another star in glory” (1 Co 15:41). And

in it God grants the gifts of the Holy Spirit as they

came in (1 Co 12)… And continues and completes in


their hearts they worked on fixing what was resulted

by their sins like what Zakka the chief tax collector

did and said: “and if I have taken anything from

anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold” (Lk


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

And the signs of repentance of humility and

contrition appear in the repentant’s life:

Like Prophet David who drench his couch with my

tears (Ps 6). And contrition appeared in so many of

his psalms… And like St. Augustine who published his

confessions in a book that was read by generations in

which he mentioned what he imagines about (the

sins) of his early childhood… And like the lost son

who, in his repentance, said to his father: “and am no

longer worthy to be called your son” (Lk 15:21).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

_The Life of Purity and Holiness:_

It is a higher level than repentance because it is

the positive side of the life of virtue.

And in it the statement “who do not walk

according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Ro

8:1) is applicable on believers, according to their pure

spirits and the work of the Holy Spirit on them.

And from here the man is called spiritual,

and appears in his life the fruits of the Holy


And St. Paul the apostle said: “But the fruit of the

Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness,

goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Ga

5:22, 23). And who of us, my brothers, mastered all

these virtues and made them a system for his life?

One of them which is (love), the apostle

explained its details in (1 Co 13) and said:

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not

envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;

does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not

provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in

iniquity…” until his said “Love never fails.” (1 Co

13:4-8). So, whom among us has all these


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

And out of the importance of love, the Lord’s

said about it that the all the Law and the

prophets hang on love, and it had two parts:

“You shall love the LORD your God with all your

heart… You shall love your neighbor as

yourself” (Mt 22:37-40).


This is the love that never fails, whom of us has

reached this level? And whom of us “loves his

neighbor as himself”? Or who applies the statement

“love does not seek its own”? And who applies the

statement “Greater love has no one than this, than to

lay down one's life for his friends” (Jn 15:13). Here is

the level of holiness that the lord says about: “Be

holy, for I am holy”.

So, if one did not reach the level of love that puts

itself for others, so at least one should try to reach

the level of love that serves others, and I mean

spiritual service…



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