ADVICE ABOUT SCHOLARSHIP AND OTHER OCCUPATIONS AND THE MISERY AND JOY OF HUMAN LIFE

INTRODUCTION

Today’s reflection will be on scholarship and choosing between occupations, a hymn in praise of God, the misery of human life, the result of evil and the joy of human life.

Advice about scholarship, the misery and joy of human life



The son of Sirach in his wisdom addressed each of these points explicitly. He advises scholars to dedicate enough time to their studies if they want to excel.

He also compared some tedious occupation with devotion to the study of the law of the God and concluded that the later is better and more benefiting both spiritually and socially.

Jesus, the son of Sirach carefully wrote a hymn in praise of God, commending God’s perfection in creation. According to him, everything was created for a purpose, both good and evil. He also analyzed the misery of human life concluding that life is full of vanity and that everything that comes from the each will surely go back to the earth, just as all water flows into the sea.

He talked about the result of evil, saying that nothing gotten through dishonesty will last and commended the acts of kindness and clarity which last to eternity.

He finally analyzed the joys of human life, concluding that the joy of human life lies on the fear of God.

SUB THEMES FOR TODAY'S REFLECTION

1. Scholarship and other occupations (38.24 – 39.11).
2. A hymn in praise of God (39.12 – 39.35)
3. The misery of human life (40.1 – 40.11)
4. The results of evil (40.12 – 40.17)
5. The joys of human life (40.18 – 40. 27)

Now click Here to read words of divine wisdom of God through Sirach (38.24 – 40.27)

REFLECTIONS, WISE QUOTES AND FOOD FOR THOUGHT FOR TODAY

1. Scholars must have to study if they are going to be wise; they must be relieved of other responsibilities (38.24)

2. Devotion to the study of God’s law is more beneficial, both spiritually and socially than any other occupation like craftsmanship, farming, blacksmithing, pottery, etc. 

People who take up these occupations can never attain positions of great importance. But a man who devotes his time studying the law of the Most High will be wise and will travel wise across continents in his effort to learn about good and evil. If he lives to his old age, he will die famous, but if he is laid to rest before he is famous, he will be content (38.25 – 39.11).

3. No one should ask why things are as they are, everything in creation has its purpose (39.21).

4. The basic needs of life are these: water, fire, iron and salt, flour, honey and milk, wine, clothing and oil (39.26).

All these things are good for those who are devout, but they turn into evil for sinners (39.27).

5. Vicious animals, scorpions and snakes; the sword that destroys the wicked; fire, hails, famine and disease; these have all been created as punishment (39.29 – 39.30).

They are all glad to obey the Lord’s command and are ready to serve him here on earth. When their times of duty come, they never disobey (39.31).

6. Every person has been given a great deal of work to do. 

A heavy burden lies on all of us from the day of our birth until the day we go back to the earth, the mother of us all (40.1). This is the misery of human life.

7. These are what all creatures, both human and animal, must face (but it is seven times worse for sinners): death, violence, conflict, murder, disaster, famine, sickness, epidemic (40.8 – 40.9). 

All these things were created because of the wicked; they are the ones who have caused destruction (40.10).

8. Note this: Nothing that comes from bribery or injustice will last, but the effects of loyalty will remain forever (40.12)

9. The children of ungodly people will not live large families; 

they are like plants trying to take root on rock, like reeds along a river bank, withering before any other plant (40.15 – 40.16).

10. Note these:

Your name can be preserved if you have children or if you establish a city; but finding wisdom is a better way. 
Owning livestock and orchards will make you famous; but it is better to have a wife you love (40.19).

11. Wine and music can make you happy, but a happy marriage is even better (40.20).

12. Flutes and harps make fine music, but a pleasant voice is even better than either (40.21).

13. Gold and silver provide security, but good advice is better (40.25)

14. Wealth and strength give confidence, but the fear of the Lord can give you even greater confidence. 

When you fear the Lord you need nothing more, it is all the support you need (40.26).

15. The fear of the Lord is like a rich garden of blessings; you could not want a more glorious shelter (40.27).

CLOSING PRAYER FOR TODAY

(Recite with deep faith)
Lord Jesus, help me to devout more time to studying your laws. May I always acknowledge the perfection of your creation. Help me to bear the pains of the misery of human life. May I detest evil and all that leads to evil. Above all, may I fear you for you are the source of the joy of human life – Amen. 

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