December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
The Book of Wisdom
- Then shall the just one with great assurance confront his oppressors who set at nought his labors.
- Seeing this, they shall be shaken with dreadful fear, and amazed at the unlooked-for salvation.
- They shall say among themselves, rueful and groaning through anguish of spirit: "This is he whom once we held as a laughingstock and as a type for mockery,
- fools that we were! His life we accounted madness, and his death dishonored.
- See how he is accounted among the sons of God; how his lot is with the saints!
- We, then, have strayed from the way of truth, and the light of justice did not shine for us, and the sun did not rise for us.
- We had our fill of the ways of mischief and of ruin; we journeyed through impassable deserts, but the way of the LORD we knew not.
- What did our pride avail us? What have wealth and its boastfulness afforded us?
- All of them passed like a shadow and like a fleeting rumor;
- Like a ship traversing the heaving water, of which, when it has passed, no trace can be found, no path of its keel in the waves.
- Or like a bird flying through the air; no evidence of its course is to be found- But the fluid air, lashed by the beat of pinions, and cleft by the rushing force Of speeding wings, is traversed: and afterward no mark of passage can be found in it.
- Or as, when an arrow has been shot at a mark, the parted air straightway flows together again so that none discerns the way it went through-
- Even so we, once born, abruptly came to nought and held no sign of virtue to display, but were consumed in our wickedness."
- Yes, the hope of the wicked is like thistledown borne on the wind, and like fine, tempest-driven foam; Like smoke scattered by the wind, and like the passing memory of the nomad camping for a single day.
- But the just live forever, and in the LORD is their recompense, and the thought of them is with the Most High.
- Therefore shall they receive the splendid crown, the beauteous diadem, from the hand of the LORD- For he shall shelter them with his right hand, and protect them with his arm.
- He shall take his zeal for armor and he shall arm creation to requite the enemy;
- He shall don justice for a breastplate and shall wear sure judgment for a helmet;
- He shall take invincible rectitude as a shield
- and whet his sudden anger for a sword, And the universe shall war with him against the foolhardy.
- Well-aimed shafts of lightnings shall go forth and from the clouds as from a well-drawn bow shall leap to the mark;
- and as from his sling, wrathful hailstones shall be hurled. The water of the sea shall be enraged against them and the streams shall abruptly overflow;
- A mighty wind shall confront them and a tempest winnow them out; Thus lawlessness shall lay the whole earth waste and evildoing overturn the thrones of potentates.
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