Rev. John Climacus, summarizing the experience of the ancient St. fathers, calls on every Christian to "go the king's way." Also this path is called "medium", and, according to "Ladder", he "is much respected" (that is convenient for any person). It is about "patient stay in the hostel", which is relevant not only for monks, but also for Christians living in the world. "Ladder" is a spiritual composition, written mainly for monasteries, so there is a lot of talk about the virtue of obedience, about its good fruits and amazing examples (see 4 Stage). It is the basis of salvation and is necessary for all. Obedience, unlike virginity, incessant prayer or complete lack of nestleness, is a virtue "universal" and universally available. In this sense, for us laymen, there are many interesting and useful things here.
Laymen of virtue obedience need to learn from monks
Residential monastery in many ways resembles a large family. There are different components of family life. For example, the father is hegumen, the brothers are monks, a large farm, a joint meal, a common prayer, caring for sick and old monks. Most importantly - in the monastery there is a constant interaction of the population with each other, there are normal human quarrels and conflicts, during which a true human "interior" opens. Many cases show their humility, serve and help their brother, reconcile with him, and then love him, finally, to know their weaknesses and weaknesses. In short, there is an ideal school for real monks. For lazy people and egoists, the monastery is not a place for living. Laymen of the virtues of obedience need to learn from monks with a good "spiritual experience", who have passed through a long-term school of dormitory. Such a teacher we will consider prep. John of the Ladder.
The church is not a barracks, a priest is not a commander, and the Gospel is not an army statute
He said that each person's finding of the "golden mean" - the royal way of salvation - is accomplished "with personal diligence, the help of the spiritual father and his own reasoning." Obviously, the participation of the person is required - his desire and right actions. As before, there are a lot of people in our Church who do not want to think, reason and make responsible decisions on their own. "It is impossible in our time to live thoughtlessly," the archim said often to his spiritual children. John (Peasant Woman). Many believers want to receive ready-made answers in the form of "instructions for use", forgetting that the Church is not a barracks, a priest is not a company commander, and the Gospel is not an army statute. In Christianity, human freedom and any creativity associated with the development of our best abilities are welcome. For example, reading good classical literature, not only Russian but also foreign, and even in the author's language - will necessarily enrich our inner world and give themes for reflection. And this is a kind of "personal diligence" of a person in the search for meaning and the "royal way" of life. A Christian is a person who is not afraid to take responsibility, first for his actions, and then for other people. For example, as a priest several times I had to be the godfather of children whose parents I literally saw for the first time in my life. Such is the modern life that, living in a big city, many people are so divided with each other that they often can not pick up their godparents. For such a priest - the last hope, and we, pastors, sometimes have to rely on God, agree to such requests. If in ordinary life diligence and responsibility are always present in the life of teachers, doctors, builders, pilots, rescuers, then all the more it is necessary in the life of the spiritual. The coward not only does not play hockey, he, like the lazy, will never become a Christian. The share of adventurism and the percentage of risk are what are always present in our spiritual life. Thus, the Christian must constantly be in search of the right steps and decisions to follow the "royal path" of his life. He needs to compare his life with the main line of conduct, which is indicated in the Gospel. And for this you need to strain your brains, include your heart in what is happening, be able to hear your own conscience.
On the other hand, completely rely on your knowledge, intuition and experience is also wrong. Salvation, according to St. Abba Dorotheus, is performed "with much counsel". Those who did not want to ask for instructions and follow him were deceived and bitterly deceived. In our time, according to the abbot Nikon (Vorobyov), "no one can be given complete and complete leadership to anyone ... it is practically impossible to find an experienced and" unflattering "leader." What to do? - It is necessary to search for "one-minded and consult with him." A wonderful rule is to live on the advice of a spiritually experienced person, checking his words with the evangelical commandments and common sense. "The Council is advice, and the final solution belongs to the inquirer" - this rule was repeated by many confessors. Finding the "royal way" of salvation and walking along it is much easier with the help of a mentor who with God's help himself went through much of this path. His spiritual experience is the most valuable thing to learn a pupil in order to achieve the main goal of life. Elder Paisius of the Holy Trinity advised us to seek a confessor who has love and sincerity in his heart. He said: "If there are no good spiritual guides, then the temples will be empty, but hospitals, psychiatric institutions and prisons will overflow ...".
On our topic, we add one more important observation - the avoidance of extremes and all kinds of "excesses". Where everything is exactly, there is the "royal path". Raveness does not mean stagnation and inaction. Imagine a man who climbs right uphill - his breathing is calm, his steps are firm, his whole body is toned and tense ...
In sport there is the notion of "steady state". It is used mainly in those types where endurance is required, for example - marathon running, bicycling or skiing for tens of kilometers. To reach the finish line, let alone the one who has set himself the right rate of loading and can calculate his strength. I will add that endurance is the only quality that is preserved in a man sometimes until old age, unlike flexibility and even strength. Famous solo traveler Fedor Konyukhov showed a rare example of endurance, when he crossed the Pacific Ocean in a rowing boat at the age of 62. In the spiritual life, similar laws work. Christians are like those who climb to the top of the mountain, swim by the boat for many kilometers, go with a heavy backpack on the road for long hours.
Christian works should correspond to our forces
Our path to salvation is difficult. Walking along it, we should stay "in a stable state", improving our "spiritual endurance". In other words, the Christian works must correspond to our forces. Correct works are those that keep the ascetic "in spiritual tonus", bring joy and satisfaction, help overcome inaction, idleness, leading to depression.
We face an important task - to avoid extremes, i.e. excessive labor and pernicious laziness. "Spiritual endurance," or the virtue of patience, is absolutely necessary for every Christian. It is not without reason that this virtue at St. fathers is called "the house of our soul", and in the Gospel it is said that only the endured one will be saved to the end (Matthew 24, 13).
All of the above reveals the signs of the "royal way" of salvation, which is mentioned in "Ladder". Let us repeat that "everyone should consider which path corresponds to his qualities".
Spiritual life is a dynamic process, it is "science from the sciences" and "art from the arts." No templates and instructions here do not work. Even the opinion of the spiritual father is only a kind and wise advice, to fulfill or not to fulfill which the person himself is free to do. One can go to Christ freely and voluntarily. God wants man to show faith, obedience and love only to his Heavenly Father - and these are the main signs of the "royal way of salvation."