James the Faster

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Our venerable and God-bearing Father James the Faster lived in the sixth century. His feast day is celebrated on March 4.

Life

St. James was so perfect in pleasing God that he cured the most gravely ill through his prayers, but the enemy of mankind lured him into great temptations. Once an immoral woman was sent to him by some mockers. She misrepresented herself to James, pretending to weep yet all the while luring him into sin. Seeing that he was going to yield to sin, James placed his left hand into the fire and held it there for some time until it was scorched. Seeing this, the woman was filled with fear and terror, repented, and amended her life.

On another occasion, James did not flee from his temptation, but rather he fell with a maiden who had been brought by her parents to be cured of her insanity. He indeed healed her, but afterward sinned with her. Then in order to conceal his sin, he killed her and threw her into a river. As is common, the steps from fornication to murder are not very far.

After this, James lived for ten years as a penitent in an open grave. At that time there was a great drought which caused both people and livestock to suffer. As a result of his prayers, rain fell, and James knew that God had forgiven him. Here is an example, similar to that of David, of how wicked the evil demon is; how by God's permission the greatest spiritual giants can be overthrown; and how, through sincere and contrite repentance, God, according to his mercy, forgives even the greatest sins and does not punish those who punish themselves.

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