Christian faith is a gift from God. We do not earn it. However, we can refuse this gift. We must accept this gift with our mind, our heart, and our will. Our whole person believes in Jesus Christ. My mind believes that it is true. My heart says I trust. I will love and have a concern for others. The initial Christian faith is a gentle longing, a search for meaning. For some it comes in a blinding flash, like the apostle Paul. Dorothy Day (1897-1980) found it working with the poor, while others see it in the presence of a priest or minister who witnesses to goodness, or at the time of a tragedy or death. Still others grow up within a cultural community of Christians that grows with them throughout their life. My faith in Jesus Christ is a continuous growing mysterious reality.
“Wakefulness over wealth
Wastes away one’s flesh.
Anxiety about wealth
Drives away sleep.
Wakeful anxiety prevents slumber.
A severe illness carries off sleep.
The rich person toils
To amass a fortune.
When he rests,
He fills himself with his dainties.
The poor person toils
To make a meager living.
If ever he rests,
He becomes needy.”
Sirach believes that the wealthy worry too much about their wealth. They are awake all the time, because their anxiety forces them to not get enough sleep. Their worries waste away their bodies, so that they probably will get a severe illness. Then Sirach has a contrast between the rich person who stops working, only to enjoy his delicacies, and the poor person who can hardly stop working because he would fall into poverty. The rich work to amass a fortune, while the poor work to earn a meager living.
“To guarantee loans for a stranger brings trouble.
But there is safety in refusing to loan money.
A gracious woman gets honor.
But she who hates virtue is covered with shame.
The timid become destitute.
But the aggressive gain riches.
Those who are kind
But the cruel do themselves harm.
The wicked earn no real gain.
But those who sow righteousness
Get a true reward.
Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live.
But whoever pursues evil will die.”
There was no safely in guaranteeing loans for strangers. A gracious woman has great honor, while those without virtue are covered in shame. The timid will become destitute, while the aggressive will get rich. The kind people take care of themselves, while the cruel people harm themselves. The wicked never earn any real gain in life. However, those who sow in righteousness will get a true reward. Those who are steadfast in righteousness will live, while the pursuers of evil will die. Money has to be used correctly.