Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Lent XXXI

Is any of you sad? Let him pray. Is he cheerful in mind? Let him sing. (James 5:13)

He who above restrained the brethren from complaining against one another in difficulties now himself shows what must on the contrary be done. If any oppressive sorrow, he says, has come upon any of you either by an injury brought on perhaps by other people or by a besetting fault or by an overwhelming, domestic loss or if you have been made sad for any reason at all, you should by no means gather at that hour to murmur against one another and place the blame on God's judgments but rather come together at the church and on bended knee pray to the Lord that he may send the grace of his consolation, lest the sadness of the world which brings death swallow you up. You yourselves also drive away the harmful disease of sadness from you heart by the frequent sweetness of psalm-singing.

[Bede, Commentary on the Seven Catholic Epistles, Cistercian Publications (Kalamazoo, MI: 1985) pp. 60-61. In Bede's interpretation of the verse, unlike the Douay-Rheims translation quoted above, the singing is part of the response to the question about sadness, not a separate topic.]

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