As I dive into the Book of Sirach, I am initially struck by the practicality of the author’s intention. The foreword in my bible, The Faith-Filled Catholic Women’s Bible (New American Bible translation), describes Ben Sira (Sirach in Greek) as a sage who lived in Jerusalem and had a love for law, the priesthood, the temple and divine worship. He was motivated to help people maintain religious faith and integrity through study of holy books and tradition. The Book of Sirach was written between 200 and 175 BC. It was translated into Greek by Ben Sira’s grandson sometime after 132 BC.
A few of my favorite verses from Chapter 1, entitled “Praise of Wisdom” – and a few of my own thoughts.
- “Before all things else wisdom was created; and prudent understanding from eternity” (verse 4) – I related this to God himself.
- “He has poured her (wisdom) forth upon all his works, upon every living thing according to his bounty; he has lavished her upon his friends.” (verse 8) – I immediately thought of animal instinct, as well as maternal instinct and bonding.
- The remainder of this chapter repeats that Fear of the Lord (noted as reverence for the Lord) is the root of wisdom. – Having had recently celebrated the Feast of the Holy Family, I found the connection of learning to honor, obey, and love our parents to be a profound schooling in faith and ultimately wisdom.
I will continue to share my thoughts as I make my way through Sirach. I pray that Wisdom may find her way deeper into my heart and yours in this New Year! -Jeannette