Thursday, April 29, 2010

Jacob's Ladder

I'm not sure if my time with Saint Bonaventure has been going amazingly well. The second class was canceled as a variety of reasons led to only one other capable of coming to the church, so instead I chatted with her and her husband at her house.
The first chapter had me hoping for a flow chart and I am not one to hope for such things. But so many things being divided into so many parts, and being doubled and then and then... my mind was swimming to see how everything was connected. And when I sat down with my friends at Holy Trinity... it made for a struggle.
But things linger. Like when he I read this out loud...
9. Since, then, we must mount Jacob's ladder before descending it, let us
place the first rung of the ascension in the depths, putting the whole
sensible world before us as a mirror, by which ladder we shall mount up to
God, the Supreme Creator, that we may be true Hebrews crossing from Egypt
to the land promised to our fathers; let us be Christians crossing with
Christ from this world over to the Father [John, 13, 1]; let us also be
lovers of wisdom, which calls to us and says, "Come over to me, all ye that
desire me, and be filled with my fruits" [Ecclesiasticus, 24, 26]. For by
the greatness of the beauty and of the creature, the Creator of them may be
seen [Wisdom, 13, 5].

At home I loved this paragraph's passionate call to have our soul, the image of God that resides within us, go out and seek God. However, "Jacob's Ladder" didn't resonate in my soul. It rang strangely in more than one friend as I read the paragraph, but another friend loved it. I opened my ears to her voice and then my imagination to the possibilities. Can you see yourself on that ladder climbing to God?
and then back to your life, family, friends, enemies, jobs, houses, neighborhoods...
Bonaventure hoped to inspire folk to take the first step. I can see myself climbing. My mind can recognize many who are climbing along with me. We ascend to God only to descend the ladder with what we are filled with as we climb.


  1. This one has me wondering again, Wayne, since I assume that Jacob's ladder is the one mentioned in Genesis 28 where the patriarch slept and, in a dream, saw angels ascending and descending on it. To my knowledge, however, no mortals never attempted to climb it and the vision served only as God's voice unto him promising His presence with him in the journey...

  2. Jim, yes. I too thought the same as I read it, however, my friend thought Bonaventure did a wonderful job stretching it into his vision of our mortal souls ascending to know God.

  3. Hi there Wayne,

    Just catching up a little here. :)

    Very cool illustration or maybe metaphor is the word... Sometimes I feel like I only have one foot on the bottom rung or even just leaning on the ladder.

    What also came to mind is dreaming. I've come to realize that God has communicated with me in dreams. The image of traffic going up and coming down on the ladder makes me think of what at times goes on in my head while I sleep.


  4. Daisy--- according to Bonaventure one of the first steps is recognizing creation as reflections of God. interesting thoughts on dreams.


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