December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 O death! how bitter the thought of you for the man at peace amid his possessions, For the man unruffled and always successful, who still can enjoy life's pleasures.
- O death! how welcome your sentence to the weak man of failing strength, Tottering and always rebuffed, with no more sight, with vanished hope.
- Fear not death's decree for you; remember, it embraces those before you, and those after.
- Thus God has ordained for all flesh; why then should you reject the will of the Most High? Whether one has lived a thousand years, a hundred, or ten, in the nether world he has no claim on life.
- A reprobate line are the children of sinners, and witless offspring are in the homes of the wicked.
- Their dominion is lost to sinners' children, and reproach abides with their descendants.
- Children curse their wicked father, for they suffer disgrace through him.
- Woe to you, O sinful men, who forsake the law of the Most High.
- If you have children, calamity will seize them; you will beget them only for groaning. When you stumble, there is lasting joy; at death, you become a curse.
- Whatever is of nought returns to nought, so too the godless from void to void.
- Man's body is a fleeting thing, but a virtuous name will never be annihilated.
- Have a care for your name, for it will stand by you better than precious treasures in the thousands;
- 2 The boon of life is for limited days, but a good name, for days without number.
- 3 My children, heed my instruction about shame; judge of disgrace only according to my rules, For it is not always well to be ashamed, nor is it always the proper thing to blush:
- Before father and mother be ashamed of immorality, before master and mistress, of falsehood;
- Before prince and ruler, of flattery; before the public assembly, of crime;
- Before friend and companion, of disloyalty, and of breaking an oath or agreement.
- Be ashamed of theft from the people where you settle, and of stretching out your elbow when you dine;
- Of refusing to give when asked, of defrauding another of his appointed share,
- Of failing to return a greeting, and of rebuffing a friend;
- Of gazing at a married woman, and of entertaining thoughts about another's wife; Of trifling with a servant girl you have, and of violating her couch;
- Of using harsh words with friends, and of following up your gifts with insults;
- Of repeating what you hear, and of betraying secrets--
- These are the things you should rightly avoid as shameful if you would be looked upon by everyone with favor.
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1 [1-13] Whether death seems bitter to one who enjoys peace, success and pleasure, or welcome to one who is weak and in despair, it comes to all and must be accepted as the will of God (Sirach 41:1-4). As the human body passes away (Sirach 41:11), so do those who have sinned through the body and their offspring alike, who, needy and accursed, pass on with their parents as if they had never been (Sirach 41:5-10). Only the good name of the virtuous endures (Sirach 41:11-13).
2  After this verse many texts repeat Sirach 20:29-30.
3 [41:14-42:8] The author illustrates the subject of true and false shame with numerous and detailed examples of sin (Sirach 41:14-22) and virtue (Sirach 42:1-8), following the norm of the commandments.
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