December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 Empty and false are the hopes of the senseless, and fools are borne aloft by dreams.
- Like a man who catches at shadows or chases the wind, is the one who believes in dreams.
- What is seen in dreams is to reality what the reflection of a face is to the face itself.
- Can the unclean produce the clean? can the liar ever speak the truth?
- Divination, omens and dreams all are unreal; what you already expect, the mind depicts.
- Unless it be a vision specially sent by the Most High, fix not your heart on it;
- For dreams have led many astray, and those who believed in them have perished.
- The law is fulfilled without fail, and perfect wisdom is found in the mouth of the faithful man.
- A man with training gains wide knowledge; a man of experience speaks sense.
- One never put to the proof knows little, whereas with travel a man adds to his resourcefulness.
- I have seen much in my travels, learned more than ever I could say.
- Often I was in danger of death, but by these attainments I was saved.
- Lively is the courage of those who fear the LORD, for they put their hope in their savior;
- He who fears the LORD is never alarmed, never afraid; for the LORD is his hope.
- Happy the soul that fears the LORD! In whom does he trust, and who is his support?
- The eyes of the LORD are upon those who love him; he is their mighty shield and strong support, A shelter from the heat, a shade from the noonday sun, a guard against stumbling, a help against falling.
- He buoys up the spirits, brings a sparkle to the eyes, gives health and life and blessing.
- 2 Tainted his gifts who offers in sacrifice ill-gotten goods! Mock presents from the lawless win not God's favor.
- The Most High approves not the gifts of the godless, nor for their many sacrifices does he forgive their sins.
- Like the man who slays a son in his father's presence is he who offers sacrifice from the possessions of the poor.
- The bread of charity is life itself for the needy; he who withholds it is a man of blood.
- He slays his neighbor who deprives him of his living: he sheds blood who denies the laborer his wages.
- If one man builds up and another tears down, what do they gain but trouble?
- If one man prays and another curses, whose voice will the LORD hear?
- If a man again touches a corpse after he has bathed, what did he gain by the purification?
- So with a man who fasts for his sins, but then goes and commits them again: Who will hear his prayer, and what has he gained by his mortification?
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1 [1-17] Confidence placed in dreams, divinations and omens is false because these are devoid of reality (Sirach 34:1-8). True confidence is founded on knowledge and experience (Sirach 34:9-12), and above all on the fear of the Lord, with its accompanying blessings of divine assistance and protection (Sirach 34:13-17).
2 [18-26] To be acts of true religion, sacrifice and penance must be accompanied by the proper moral dispositions. To offer to God goods taken from the poor (Sirach 34:18-22), or to practice penance without interior reform, is a mockery, worthless in the sight of God (Sirach 34:23-26). Cf Matthew 15:4-7; Mark 7:9-13.
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