The memory of these famous holy men (Sir 44:7-44:9)

“All these were honored

In their generations.

They were the pride

Of their times.

Some of them

Have left behind a name.

Thus others declare their praise.

But there is no memory

Of others.

They have perished

As though they had never existed.

They have become

As though they

And their children

Had never been born.”

Sirach notes that each one of these holy famous men was honored when they were alive. Their contemporaries took great pride in them. Some of these men have left behind a name or reputation, so that others can share in that pride. However, some of the others have left no memory. We do not know even who they were. They have died as if they never existed without any trace of them. Both they and their children are like they were never born. There was a great emphasis on a good name and being remembered, also a Latin and Greek ideal. Thus we do not have any memory about some good people.

A good name (Sir 41:11-41:13)

“The human body

Is a fleeting thing.

The bad name of sinners

Will be blotted out.

But a virtuous name

Will never be blotted out.

Have regard for your name!

It will outlive you longer

Than a thousand stores of gold.

The days of a good life

Are numbered.

But a good name

Lasts forever.”

Sirach indicates that life is fleeting, but your name or reputation lasts long after you have died. The bad name of the sinners is blotted out, while the good name of the virtuous will never be blotted out. You should have regard for your name and your reputation because it will outlive you more than your gold. A good name lasts forever, even though you only last a few days here on earth.