O dearest son, I wish to instruct you in the ways
by which you learn to examine yourself
and ascend the holy mountain of Zion
dwelling among the saints in perfect happiness,

First, begin by considering the ways of the upright,
those noble souls who seek the life of virtue
and the prize of right living,

the first rung on this ladder
is the moral virtues,
as the doctors taught,
these are interconnected and find their fruition
in prudence,

the second rung of the ladder
is the 10 Commandments
by these is one able to discern
whether or not one has committed mortal sin,
but stay not for long on the exterior,
rather seek that interior harmony
that is the possession of the saints,

in the third rung,
examine your heart by means of the 7 deadly sins,
be attentive to each thought,
and scrutinize it under the light of divine reason,

these three first rungs are the path of the multitude,
while many fail in these regards,
we must not be content to stay here,

we must aspire to climb higher
for our Lord says,
“Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48),

So let us continue our journey
by means of the fourth rung
which is the theological virtues

By means of faith, hope, and love
the intellect, memory, and will are grafted
to the divine presence,

Then, as the mind clings to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit
the holy ones possess the gifts of that same Spirit
and these 7 gifts are the fifth rung,

But to climb higher,
the totality of the person must be drawn ever deeper
into mysteries which are not contained within concepts,
That is why the Lord summarized his teaching
by means of the beatitudes,

These form the sixth rung,
by which the saint is drawn into perfection,
and the last rung is that holy of holies,
the inner courtroom of the temple,
The only the thing that suffices to describe these mysteries is scripture.

To meditate on this last rung,
we must approach mystical union
by means of the sacred words of scripture,

Passages such as
“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me”
“Pray without ceasing”
provide suitable means
by which we are able to penetrate the mysteries of God,

Likewise the Gospel of John is Spirit,
and illuminates the blessedness
of the perfect,
Scrutinize the Word of God
and let it transfigure your heart.

The Following is a Summary of the Ladder

The Way of the Upright
1) The Moral Virtues
2) The Ten Commandments
3) The Seven Deadly Sins

The Way of the Perfect
4) The Theological Virtues
5) The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
6) The Beatitudes
7) Mystical Union