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Surprised by wisdom from Sirach

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DESPITE MANY years of writing about things Marian, I have never really been a Bible reader. The Genesis and the Revelation (also called the Apocalypse) are the only two books that I have ever read from beginning to end. The rest of what I know come from Gospels read in churches. Not that I have no intention to read the entire Bible; I plan to do so anytime soon, what with two editions already in my lightweight Kindle e-reader.

And yes, I have been fired up by what Catholic writer Michael Brown shared in his website spiritdaily.com, quoting verses from Sirach which inspire for their relevance in the daily challenges of modern times.

From Brown, I have learned that the Book of Sirach (Old Testament) was written by one named Jesus, son of Eleazar and Sirach. Brown reminds us that “Sirach is one of the “books of wisdom,” included in Catholic bibles but non-canonical for Jews and Protestants.”

And yes, I agree with Brown that the book is teeming with what I’d like to call practical wisdom. Here are some excerpts:

“Be swift to hear, but slow to answer,” says Sirach 5:13, urging – however – that we “refrain not from speaking at the proper time,” and that you “hide not away your wisdom” (4:23).

“Let your acquaintances be many, but one in a thousand your confidant,” says Sirach 6:6, pointing up the need for discernment in all walks of life — in everyday happenings. “Before investigating, find no fault; examine first (before criticizing),” says Sirach, chapter eleven.

“Bring not every man into your house, for many are the snares of the crafty one” (11:29).

“Before hearing, answer not, and interrupt no one in the middle of his speech” (11:7-8).

“Envy not a sinner’s fame, for you know not what awaits him,” chapter nine of that book reminds us. Browns adds: “God is Ultimate Justice. No one gets away with murder (or, ultimately, in the afterlife, anything else). (It’s good to keep this in mind while on this unfair celebrity-laden planet.)”

“The beginning of pride is a man’s stubbornness,” notes Sirach (10:12) and to this Brown appendages: “When we are always stubborn, we are know-it-alls. A great sin of our time this is! As for pride: there are two meanings for the word. In one sense, it’s satisfaction with doing well or with someone else doing well. But in its dangerous form, it’s arrogance, selfcenteredness, and exaggerated self-esteem — and what got Satan cast out of Heaven.”

“Widely known is the boastful speaker, but the wise man knows his own faults” (21:7).

“Fools’ thoughts are in their mouths, wise men’s words are in their hearts” (21:26).

“Seven days of mourning for the dead, but for the wicked fools a whole lifetime” (22:11).

“The Most High possesses all knowledge, and sees from of old the things that are to come: He makes known the past and the future, and reveals the deepest secrets” (42:18-19).

And for those who are prideful and arrogate to themselves their talents: “All wisdom is from the Lord, and remains with him forever.”

AND NOW, FOR THE LATEST messages of Our Blessed Mother from Medjugorje.

Last Nov. 2, the Blessed Mother said:

“Dear children, my beloved Son always prayed and glorified the Heavenly Father. He always said everything to Him and trusted in His will. This is what you, my children, should also do, because the Heavenly Father always listens to His children. One heart in one heart – love, light and life.

“The Heavenly Father gave Himself through a human face, and this face is the face of my Son. You, apostles of my love, you should always carry the face of my Son in your hearts and your thoughts. You should always think of His love and His sacrifice. You should pray to always feel His presence, because, apostles of my love, that is the way for you to help all those who do not know my Son, who have not come to know His love.

“My children, read the book of the Gospel. It is always something new, it is what binds you to my Son who was born to bring the words of life to all of my children and to sacrifice Himself for all. Apostles of my love, carried by the love for my Son, bring love and peace to all of your brothers. Judge no one. Love everyone according to the love for my Son. In this way, you will also be caring for your soul, and it [your soul] is that which is most precious, which truly belongs to you. Thank you.”

And more recent, last Nov. 25, the Blessed Mother said as follows:

“Dear children! May this time be a time of prayer for you. Without God you do not have peace. Therefore, little children, pray for peace in your hearts and families, so that Jesus can be born in you and give you His love and blessing. The world is at war because hearts are full of hatred and jealousy. In the eyes, little children, peacelessness is seen because you have not permitted Jesus to be born in your lives. Seek Him, pray, and He will give Himself to you in the Child who is joy and peace. I am with you and I pray for you. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

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