Wisdom of Sirach 34:23

When one builds, and another pulls down, what profit have they then but labor?
Read Chapter 34

Venerable Barsanuphius and John the Prophet

AD 600
If a person does not do what he can, uniting himself to the prayers of the saints, neither does he derive any benefit if the saints pray for him. If they abstain and intercede for him but he abandons himself to dissoluteness and pleasure, what good is their prayer for him? The word is thus fulfilled, "If one builds and another destroys, what good is further labor?" If this could in fact occur, that the one for whom the saints prayed would be saved without him making even a minimum of effort, nothing would stop them from doing this for all the sinners in the world. The sinner, moreover, if he does make a bit of effort, also has need of the prayers of the righteous. As the apostle says, "The intense prayer of the righteous can do much." This happens when a holy and righteous person intercedes and the sinner cooperates with the saints" prayers, to the extent possible for him, by penance, being unable to pay his debt by himself. His contribution is small, but that of the prayer of the saints is great. It is as though someone needed to carry ten sacks of grain and was unable to carry even two but finds a God-fearing person who takes nine of them, leaving him with just one. And he is protected in this way until he arrives safe and sound, unharmed by robbers. This also is the same thing. - "Book of Letters 616"

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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