19 May 2012
Fatherly Advice -Extracted from the Book of Ecclesiasticus / Sirach, Chapter 18:
The Divine Power and Mercy
1 The Eternal is the judge of all things without exception; the Lord alone is just.
2 Whom has he made equal to describing his works, and who can probe his mighty deeds?
3 Who can measure his majestic power, or exhaust the tale of his mercies?
4 He has given no one the power to proclaim his works to the end, and who can fathom his magnificent deeds?
5 Who can assess his magnificent strength, and who can go further and tell all of his mercies?
6 Nothing can be added to them, nothing subtracted, it is impossible to fathom the marvels of the Lord.
7 When someone finishes he is only beginning, and when he stops he is as puzzled as ever.
8 What is a human being, what purpose does he serve? What is good and what is bad for him?
9 The length of his life: a hundred years at most.
10 Like a drop of water from the sea, or a grain of sand, such are these few years compared with eternity.
11 This is why the Lord is patient with them and pours out his mercy on them.
12 He sees and recognizes how wretched their end is, and so he makes his forgiveness the greater.
13 Human compassion extends to neighbours, but the Lord's compassion extends to everyone;
rebuking, correcting and teaching, bringing them back as a shepherd brings his flock.
14 He has compassion on those who accept correction, and who fervently search for his judgements.
The Necessity of Prudence
15 My child, do not temper your favours with blame nor any of your gifts with words that hurt.
16 Does not dew relieve the heat? In the same way a word is worth more than a gift.
17 Why surely, a word is better than a good present, but a generous (kindly) person is ready with both.
18 A fool will offer nothing but insult, and a grudging gift makes the eyes smart.
19 Learn before you speak, take care of yourself before you fall ill.
20 Examine yourself before judgement comes, and on the day of visitation you will be acquitted.
21 Humble yourself before you fall ill, repent as soon as the sin is committed.
22 Let nothing prevent your discharging a vow in good time, and do not wait till death to set matters right.
23 Prepare yourself before making a vow, and do not be like someone who tempts the Lord.
24 Bear in mind the retribution of the last days, the time of vengeance when God averts his face.
25 In a time of plenty remember times of famine, think of poverty and want when you are rich.
26 The time slips by between dawn and dusk, everything passes quickly for the Lord.
27 The wise will be cautious in everything, in sinful times will take care not to offend.
28 Every person of sense recognizes wisdom, and will respect anyone who has found her.
29 Those who understand sayings have toiled for their wisdom and have poured out accurate maxims.
30 Do not be governed by your passions, restrain your desires.
31 If you allow yourself to satisfy your desires, this will make you the laughing-stock of your enemies.
32 Do not indulge in luxurious living, do not get involved in such society.
33 Do not beggar yourself by banqueting on credit when there is nothing in your pocket.
The faithful God who has given you a Country you have not toiled
– Extracted from Joshua, Chapter 24
1 Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel together at Shechem; he then summoned all the elders of Israel, its leaders, judges and officials, and they presented themselves in God's presence.
2 Joshua then said to all the people: 'Yahweh, the God of Israel, says this, "From time immemorial, your ancestors, Terah, father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the River, and served other gods.
3 I then brought your ancestor Abraham from beyond the River and led him through the length and breadth of Canaan. I increased his descendants and I gave him Isaac.
4 To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I gave possession of the mountainous country of Seir. Jacob and his sons went down into Egypt.
5 I then sent Moses and Aaron, and plagued Egypt with the wonders that I worked there; finally I brought you out.
6 I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, and you came to the Sea; the Egyptians pursued your ancestors with chariots and horsemen, to the Sea of Reeds.
7 They then called to Yahweh, and he spread a thick fog between you and the Egyptians, and made the sea go back on them and cover them. You saw with your own eyes what I did in Egypt. Then, for a long while, you lived in the desert.
8 I then brought you into the country of the Amorites, who used to live on the further side of the Jordan; they made war on you and I put them at your mercy; after which, you took possession of their country, since I destroyed them before you.
9 Next, Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, rose to make war on Israel, and sent for Balaam son of Beor to come and curse you.
10 But I would not listen to Balaam; instead, he had to bless you, and I saved you from his power.
11 "You then crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho, but the inhabitants of Jericho made war on you: Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I put them all at your mercy.
12 I sent hornets ahead of you, which drove out the two Amorite kings before you; this was not the work of your sword or of your bow.
13 And now I have given you a country for which you have not toiled, towns you have not built, although you live in them, vineyards and olive groves you have not planted, although you eat their fruit."
14 'So now, fear Yahweh and serve him truly and sincerely; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve Yahweh …’
I will bring you to my holy mountain -Extracted from Isaiah, Chapter 56:
1 Thus says Yahweh: Make fair judgement your concern, act with justice, for soon my salvation will come and my saving justice be manifest.
2 Blessed is anyone who does this, anyone who clings to it, observing the Sabbath, not profaning it, and abstaining from every evil deed.
3 No foreigner adhering to Yahweh should say, 'Yahweh will utterly exclude me from his people.' No eunuch should say, 'Look, I am a dried-up tree.'
4 For Yahweh says this: To the eunuchs who observe my Sabbaths and choose to do my good pleasure and cling to my covenant,
5 I shall give them in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I shall give them an everlasting name that will never be effaced.
6 As for foreigners who adhere to Yahweh to serve him, to love Yahweh's name and become his servants, all who observe the Sabbath, not profaning it, and cling to my covenant:
7 these I shall lead to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar, for my house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
19 May 2012