The wisdom of the humble lifts their head high. The bee is small among flying creatures, but what it produces is the best of sweet things.
A Word of Hope
The Scripture above is one of the wisdom sayings found in the Jewish writing called Wisdom of Yeshua son of Sirach which is part of the apocryphal books in the Roman Catholic Bible. Ben Sira composed this book of instruction sometime before 180 B.C.E. Apparently it was used in a teaching program for young Jewish boys were being prepared to assume adult roles in the Jewish community. Its wisdom was highly regarded by Jewish rabbis; therefore, it is possible that Jesus of Nazareth and the apostle Paul were taught some of these words.
Centering Prayer: Lord God, quiet my mind and open my heart to receive your words of instruction to guide my spiritual growth. I give you thanks for your loving care, and in this and all things, I offer you myself that I may be an instrument of your love and peace in this world. Amen.
It is clear that Ben Sira was teaching a group of young men who probably were more privileged in society. Their families may have had enough wealth that the boys got better schooling and were not forced directly into the common labor market. It would have been quite natural that they might fall into the sticky grip of pride; especially, when speaking or teaching others of less means.
However, this admonition is not limited to them. How can it affect us today? The character trait of humility is based upon proper acceptance of who we really are and of valid respect for the worth of the other person’s life and knowledge. The Psalms and Proverbs are filled with many admonitions for humility, and it was a major trait given example in the life of Jesus.
Certainly, it is not a character trait which is given much value by today’s onslaught of self-promotional behavior. However, curiously enough, humility when linked with wisdom is an admired trait when seen in the life of a deceased person. Who gives much honor to the person whose eulogy states that he was an arrogant The humble departed is remembered for acts and words of kindness through which they showed respect to others.
It all boils down to a valid acceptance of the equal worth of every human. That’s how God views all of us, equally worthy of divine love. Why can’t we see others as God does?
Providing God, your words of wisdom may be ancient or modern, but they always stand forth with your truth. Teach me to see others as you do. During all of my activities this day, may I attend to your voice of guidance and love. I give you my praise, and may all humanity give you glory. Amen.
Donald (Luke) Day
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare