Copyright © 2009 Lea Karen Kivi
Day 175 – Sirach 1-4
Reread Sirach 3:12-16.
Why do you suppose that the helplessness and crankiness of some elderly people is often harder to accept than the helplessness and crankiness of babies?
In Sirach 3:1-16, as well as in Exodus 20:12, particularly important blessings are promised to those who care for their parents. What is it about caring for the elderly that opens our lives to receive such special blessings?
Ask God to protect all the old and frail, and to motivate friends and family members to be especially kind towards them.
Day 176 – Sirach 5-8
Reread Sirach 6:35-36.
What opportunities do you have to learn about the faith journey of others? Are you able to attend special presentations at a church or at a retreat center? Are there any lectures open to the public at a local seminary or school of theology? Do you have any books about the lives of saints? Have you ever considered trying to meet with a wise person in your church to learn from his or her life experience?
Ask God to give us the desire to seek people who seek God.
Day 177 – Sirach 9-12
Reread Sirach 9:8-9.
The famous evangelist, Billy Graham, made a vow at the beginning of his ministry never to be alone with a woman other than his wife. He entered into this vow along with other married ministers with whom he was traveling.
What people, places, and activities might put you at greater risk of straying from your commitments? Do you have a group, as did Billy Graham, who can support you in fulfilling your commitments?
Ask God to help us to be faithful to our own commitments, and to support others in keeping theirs.
Day 178 – Sirach 13-16
Reread Sirach 14:20-27.
These verses describe a constant yearning for spiritual wisdom. Daily prayer, daily Bible reading, daily Mass – all these activities take time and discipline.
How much time do you have on your hands? Have you ever heard an ‘all or nothing’ voice inside of you saying that you must follow a particular spiritual schedule to please God? If you then find yourself unable to meet a particular spiritual goal, do you feel like you are a failure, and think that you should give up on the spiritual goal entirely?
Ask God to help us to be encouraged about our successes in growing in faith, and to be gentle with ourselves as we continue to seek wisdom.
Day 179 – Sirach 17-20
Reread Sirach 18:15-17.
In your life, what words spoken to you have encouraged you the most? Which gifts given to you do you treasure the most?
Ask God to guide us to give gifts and words of encouragement that will bring joy to the people receiving them.
Day 180 – Sirach 21-24
Reread Sirach 22:16-18.
How far in advance do you make your plans? On a given day, do you spend more time thinking about the past, the present, or the future?
Ask God to help us to keep a healthy balance between living in the present, learning from the past, and planning for the future.
Day 181 – Sirach 25-28
Reread Sirach 28:1-7.
Sirach 28:3 tells us that there is a relationship between health and willingness to forgive others. From your own life experiences, would you say that this statement is true? What do you think would make it easier for someone to forgive another person?
Ask God to help us to let go of any resentments that may be festering inside of us, and to replace these with prayers for the well-being of those who have hurt us.
Day 182 – Sirach 29-31
Reread Sirach 30:25, and Sirach 31:12 – 32:13.
It may seem a little surprising to be reading about table manners in the Bible, but everything we do reflects our relationship to God.
In reading these verses from Sirach, were there any thoughts that came to you about how to show hospitality? As guests, how can we contribute to the success of a social event?
Ask God to help us to see that when we are guests, or when we are entertaining others, we bring our faith lives to the table.
Day 183 – Sirach 32-34
Reread Sirach 33:10-13.
Who has God, the Master Potter, created you to be? Should we be concerned if at any time our work isn’t very ‘flashy’ or noticeable?
Read Ephesians 2:19-20. A cornerstone (capstone) doesn’t look very important, but it holds an entire building together.
Read 1 Corinthians 13. No matter what our role in God’s kingdom, the most important work we have is to bring the love of Christ to other people.
Ask God to help us to become loving reflections of the Master Potter.
Day 184 – Sirach 35-37
Reread Sirach 35:10.
Have you ever kept a journal of ‘sowing and reaping’, that is, what you have invested in God’s work through the Church or outside community? What benefits have your investments brought forth for the Church and for yourself personally? Take a moment to remember the donations that you have made and the benefits that have come to other people as a result of them.
Ask God to show us where to donate our time and money, and how God blesses us for sharing our resources with others.
Day 185 – Sirach 38-40
Reread Sirach 38:24-34.
Take a moment to imagine the number of people in various trades who have built the town or city in which you live. Imagine the amount of time it took for them to learn their trades. Imagine the dangers that they have had to face at the workplace.
Is there a particular image, sound, or feeling that stands out for you?
Ask God to bless and protect all workers, both on and off the job.
Day 186 – Sirach 41-43
Reread Sirach 41:1.
In this verse, we see a man comfortable with his possessions. How do we avoid being possessed by our possessions? How do you think you would react if God were to call you to move to another country, leaving your home and perhaps some possessions behind?
Read Matthew 6:19-21, and ask God to remind us to show our human treasures how special they are to us.
Day 187 – Sirach 44-47
In today’s reading, the author praises God for God’s blessings on our spiritual ancestors.
Do you ever think about the people in your family who lived a few generations ago? Does the fact that they lived through many struggles inspire you in meeting your own life challenges?
Ask God to remind us of our own ancestors, the Church’s spiritual ancestors, and the miraculous events that enabled faith to be preserved through many generations.
Day 188 – Sirach 48-51
Reread Sirach 50:25-29.
What do you learn in these verses about the author, Jesus, son of Eleazar, son of Sirach? What do you notice about his attitude that has made him an instrument through which God has chosen to teach millions of people?
Ask God to stir up dreams and courage inside of us, so that we, like the author of Sirach, can reach many people with God’s love and wisdom.