Thursday, April 26, 2012

"On Scandal"

Pope St. Leo the Great

The following is taken from a sermon for the Second Sunday after Easter by our Eastertide guide, St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church:

"The wolves that catch and scatter the sheep of Jesus Christ, are the authors of scandal, who not content with their own destruction, labour to destroy others. But the Lord says: "Woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh" (Matt. 18:7). Woe to him who gives scandal, and causes others to lose the grace of God. Origen says, that "a person who impels another to sin, sins more grievously than the other."

"....It is, in the first place, necessary to explain what is meant by scandal. Behold how St. Thomas defines it: "Scandal is a word or act which gives occasion to the spiritual ruin of one's neighbour" (2, ii. q. 45, art. 1.) Scandal, then, is a word or act by which you are to your neighbour the cause or occasion of losing his soul."

"....[W]e may infer how great is the displeasure given to God by scandalizing a brother and destroying his soul. It is enough to say, that they who give scandal rob God of a child, and murder a soul, for whose salvation He has spent His blood and His life. Hence, St. Leo calls the authors of scandal murderers. "Quisquis scandilizat, mortem infert animae proximi" (whosoever scandalizes, brings the soul of his neighbor to death). They are the most impious of murderers; because they kill not the body, but the soul, of a brother, and rob Jesus Christ of all His tears, of His sorrows, and of all that He has done and suffered to gain that soul."

St. Alphonsus Liguori, pray for us.

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