Words to Inspire

The Ladder of Perfection – Walter Hilton

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Image courtesy of Western Mystics blog

Walter Hilton (b.1340–45 – d.1396) was an English Augustinian monk whose writing became influential only after his death. To my mind, his Ladder of Perfection remains the greatest work in the late Middle Ages Christian mystical tradition; and is certainly of equal calibre to “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas á Kempis. Some passages arguably even exceed the warmth and depth of the Imitation, especially Book 1 of Hilton’s work, where the chapters are generally shorter and pithy.

Hilton has been far less widely read that á Kempis, and bound copies are hard to come by, as it appears to be out of print other than very costly print on demand reprints. On the other hand, our online version here is bookmarked chapter by chapter, making for easy on-line reading. So rather than purchase, why not just read our version here a far more sensible proposition, especially as it is free to read or download.

Our online version here is bookmarked chapter by chapter, making for much easier on-line reading.

“But you should ever seek with great diligence in prayer that you might gain a spiritual feeling or sight of God. And that is, that you may know the wisdom of God, His endless might, His great goodness in Himself and through His creatures…so that you may know and feel with all saints what is the length of the endless being of God, the breadth of the wonderful charity and the goodness of God, the height of His almighty majesty and the bottomless depths of His wisdom. In knowing and spiritual feeling of these should be the exercise of a contemplative man. For in these may be understood the full knowing of all spiritual things.”

– The Ladder of Perfection


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Author: John E Ruffle

As a redeemed, recycled 1970s Californian Jesus Freak, John has faced many extreme situations and sticky wickets. He has shared the grass-roots Jesus-message in streets and churches in, among other places, Kathmandu, Eastern-block Communist Europe, two or three African countries, (where in one he was kidnapped at gun point), and on the site of the old Cavern Club as well as in a Liverpudlian police cell. Returning to England, John taught and mentored for over a decade in a Further Education college in London. A victim of sexual abuse growing up, John appreciates the healing journey Jesus has led him on. In 2013, this led John home to the Catholic faith with a renewed appreciation of the healing presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Foundational to his faith however, has always been his experiences living in Gospel Outreach - a committed shared purse Christian community in the USA. He is still in touch with many of his original “Jesus Freak” generation buddies. John is on the leadership team of the local Catholic Charismatic prayer group, and writes prophetically to instruct and inspire. While not given to predicting the future, among other things, he fully expected Donald Trump to win the US elections and also foresaw that Britain would vote to leave the European Union – but not the mess that followed! Since 2017, John has been engaged in researching the 1967-1978 'Jesus People Movement' phenomenon as well as the dynamics of the hippy sub-culture that spawned it. John is crafting his emerging narrative to be relevant and engaging to a new generation of young Christians. John is married to Gladdys, they have one boy, several stray cats that appear and disappear at will, and a growing extended family both in the UK and abroad. They make their home in Birmingham, England where they love to praise and worship Jesus.

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