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Sirach 20: The Wise and Foolish

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Jan Adam Kruseman: The Wise and Foolish Virgins

This chapter of Sirach is too good to be missed.  Every verse is a nugget to be held and valued.  Jesus ben Sirach draws us away from stereotyping . . . toward universality. . . and the understanding that there is no one member of Christ’s mystical body who has a lock on the mystery of God . . . other than Jesus himself.

The Lamb is the one who opens the sealed scroll in Revelation.  The Lamb is the one who appears slain . . . but who saves . . . by the giving over of himself.  We who answer his call to form the mystical body do well to seek and study, to ask and search.  This is the only true path to life in Christ.  When we knock, he will answer.  When we search, he will find.

Admonitions, comparisons, similes, metaphors, ironies, paradoxes . . . words moving into concepts that guide our lives.

The proper time for speech and silence.

True and false wisdom.

Double entendres that hide and reveal.

Seeing stereotypes for what they are . . . a division of the whole . . . an anti-universe.

Wisdom seems to always be accompanied by foolishness and Matthew’s story of the Ten Virgins comes to mind.  Therefore keep watch because you do not know the day or time.  There is hidden treasure in these refrains and sayings.

Proverbs that lend us so much wisdom . . . these are nuggets to be valued and taken to heart.  These are the wise sayings that lead to life in Christ.  These are the refrains our parents used and that we echo to our children and grandchildren.  Read these words . . . and pass them on . . . for this is the stuff that leads to salvation, to unity, to universality.  This is Christ.

Hidden wisdom and unseen treasure – of what use is either?  Better the man who hides his folly than the one who hides his wisdom.


Written on November 20, 2008, re-written and posted today as a Favorite.

http://www.wijermars.com/Collection/Jan_Adam_Kruseman-De_Wijze_en_de_Dwaze_Maagden.html

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Monday, February 25, 2013 – Sirach 8 & 9 – Part III

A Prayer for Friends and Friendship

friendship013[1]The wisdom of Proverbs and Sirach may be dismissed as childish or old-fashioned, but this week we have seen the depth and breadth of their astuteness and their keen understanding of human nature.  Today we see these verses as a welcome counterpoint to the material world and its headlong rush to acquire all that is new; we strive to keep all things in balance: Spurn not the discourse of the wise, but acquaint yourself with their proverbs; from them you will acquire the training to serve you in the presence of princes.  Reject not the wisdom of the old ones which they have learned from their elders; from it you will obtain the knowledge how to answer in time of need. (Sirach 8:8-9)

In our modern age of hyper-communication we might draw into ourselves in fear as we hear constant news of conflict and violence.  We may be tempted to look at all that is wrong and forget to look for all that is right with the world.  Anxiety may outweigh optimism.  Fear may trump trust.  Self-protection and avoidance of vulnerability may outweigh our courage to enter into friendship with sincerity and integrity.  If this is so, and if the familiar stories in scripture do not inspire us, we will want to return to the wisdom captured by Jesus ben Sirach, for he has much to offer us.

And so we pray in gratefulness for our true friends and in thanksgiving for the presence of Christ in our lives . . .

Good and gracious God, I thank you for the true friendship you have shared with me in the person of my friends.  Keep me ever aware of their value.  Remind me to thank them often.  Guide me in returning their nurturing care of my humanity.  Help me to recognize their divinity, just as these true friends affirm my divinity when I reflect you to them.  Thank you for adopting me as your daughter.  Remind me often that I am a citizen of the next world rather than one of this.  Give me the patience to wait while the wine of relationships ages.  I ask this in Jesus’ name, together with the friendship of the Holy Spirit.  Amen

And a post script to all sincere friends . . . Thank you!

This week-end’s posts and today’s are revisions of previous Noontimes on Sirach and friendship first written on October 17, 2007 and November 28, 2008.  For more wisdom from this text, type the “Sirach” into the blog search box and choose a reflection.   

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