Saint John and The Frog

I was thumbing through an old poetry notebook of mine from 25 years ago. In an unfinished poem, I found a reference to this passage from the texts of Saint John of the Ladder.

It wants to be shared. What am I gonna do, post it on Facebook?

When we draw water from a well, it can happen that we inadvertently also bring up a frog. When we acquire virtues we can sometimes find ourselves involved with the vices which are imperceptibly interwoven with them. What I mean is this. Gluttony can be caught up with hospitality; lust with love; cunning with discernment; malice with prudence; duplicity, procrastination, slovenliness, stubbornness, wilfulness, and disobedience with meekness; refusal to learn with silence; conceit with joy; laziness with hope; nasty condemnation with love again; despondency and indolence with tranquillity; sarcasm with chastity; familiarity with lowliness. And behind all the virtues follows vainglory as a salve, or rather a poison, for everything.

Saint John of the Ladder, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Step 26, “On Discernment”

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