Thursday, April 05, 2007

James 5:19-20, Morning prayer of 4th Friday of Lent

My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

My thanks to Anita (V-For Victory) for helping me unravel this passage. I'd always felt uncomfortable about just who all was referred to by all the pronouns! Was the one bringing back, or the one brought back, saved from death, and whose multitude of sins was covered? The Haydock commentary confirmed Anita's analysis, that merit accrues to the one whom has allowed God to use him to rescue the lost; and said same person, by cooperating with grace, has many of his own unknown sins remitted.

The connection Anita made which I really appreciated was, was linking it to the opposite warning: to those who cause scandal to Christ's little ones, the millstone is threatened; thus it stands to reason that as additional punishment accrues to those who cause scandal, additional merit accrues to those who assist in the salvation of otheres. This can be opened a bit further, by applying St. Augustine's definition of Scandal; "that action which causes a member of the faithful to depart from Christ's Church." Now, this does not include the false scandal, as in Jn 6:66, where the unbelieving left because the Truth was a stumbling block they refused to accept. Neither does it include what we have come to know as the definition of scandal today; the moral outrage over acts which are contrary to justice and right reason. So one who causes a member of the faith, one of God's little ones, to renounce said little one's salvation, forfeits his own as well. and one who assists one who has fallen to return to a state of grace, accrues grace for his own salvation as well.

It does not cease to amaze me to see how evil is a perverse mirror of goodness, and perhaps that is why so many, left to their own devices because they reject Goodness Himself, confuse injustice for justice, and evil for good.


  1. About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].

    Peace Be With You

  2. We have such a great redeemer, may he be ever praised. thank you for sharing your experience.

    Pax et fides,