Wisdom’s Corner No. 26: The Misery of Human Life


“Every person has been given a great deal of work to do.  A heavy burden lies on all of us from the day of our birth until the day we go back to the earth, the mother of us all.  We are confused and fearful, dreading the day of our death–all of us from the king on his splendid throne wearing royal robes and a crown, to the humblest person dressed in burlap and living in poverty.  All through our lives we meet anger, jealousy, and trouble.  Things disturb us; we live with furious conflicts and with the fear of death.  Even when we go to sleep.  We get little rest, if any at all.  When we sleep, it is as if we were awake, disturbed by our imaginations.  If we dream that we are running from an enemy, just as we are about to be caught, we wake and are relieved to find there is nothing to be afraid of.

Here is what all creatures, both human and animal, must face (but it is seven times work for sinners): death, violence, conflict, murder, disaster, famine, sickness, epidemic.  All these things were created because of the wicked; they are the ones who have caused destruction.  Everything that comes from the earth goes back to the earth, just as all water flows into the sea.”

Sirach 40

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