Feast of St John Climacus, Author of The Divine Ladder of Ascent
IN THE OPENING pages of the Bible, we read that God blessed the material goods of the earth and offered them to man “to eat.” Eating that immediate way in which man takes up the world and is physically united with it so that the good things of the earth are transformed into the flesh and life of man, is identified with the blessing God offers to man: it is an actual relationship between man and God. Man’s communion with God before the fall was a real relationship of life through every act of eating or drinking, through total, bodily participation in the blessing offered—not through means that were partial, whether intellectual, ethical or religious. Ethics and religion make their appearance once the organic and immediate relationship of life between man and God has been broken: they are attempts to make good the absence of this relationship through acts of individual expiation or merit. Ethics and religion are results of the fall of man, his refusal or inability to realize his relationship with the world as “eucharist,” a thanksgiving to God—to make an act of thanksgiving out of his very life, out of the eating and drinking which maintain his existence in the world.
—Christos Yannaras, The Freedom of Morality