Grief-stricken in spirit, I, Tobit, groaned and wept aloud.
Then with sobs I began to pray:
“You are righteous, O Lord,
and all your deeds are just;
All your ways are mercy and truth;
you are the judge of the world.
And now, O Lord, may you be mindful of me,
and look with favor upon me.
Punish me not for my sins,
nor for my inadvertent offenses,
nor for those of my ancestors.
“We sinned against you,
and disobeyed your commandments.
So you handed us over to plundering, exile, and death,
till you made us the talk and reproach of all the nations
among whom you had dispersed us.
“Yes, your judgments are many and true
in dealing with me as my sins
and those of my ancestors deserve.
For we have not kept your commandments,
nor have we trodden the paths of truth before you.
“So now, deal with me as you please,
and command my life breath to be taken from me,
that I may go from the face of the earth into dust.
It is better for me to die than to live,
because I have heard insulting calumnies,
and I am overwhelmed with grief.
“Lord, command me to be delivered from such anguish;
let me go to the everlasting abode;
Lord, refuse me not.
For it is better for me to die
than to endure so much misery in life,
and to hear these insults!”
On the same day, at Ecbatana in Media,
it so happened that Raguel’s daughter Sarah
also had to listen to abuse,
from one of her father’s maids.
For she had been married to seven husbands,
but the wicked demon Asmodeus killed them off
before they could have intercourse with her,
as it is prescribed for wives.
So the maid said to her:
“You are the one who strangles your husbands!
Look at you!
You have already been married seven times,
but you have had no joy with any one of your husbands.
Why do you beat us? Is it on account of your seven husbands,
Because they are dead?
May we never see a son or daughter of yours!”
The girl was deeply saddened that day,
and she went into an upper chamber of her house,
where she planned to hang herself.
But she reconsidered, saying to herself:
“No! People would level this insult against my father:
‘You had only one beloved daughter,
but she hanged herself because of ill fortune!’
And thus would I cause my father in his old age
to go down to the nether world laden with sorrow.
It is far better for me not to hang myself,
but to beg the Lord to have me die,
so that I need no longer live to hear such insults.”
At that time, then, she spread out her hands,
and facing the window, poured out her prayer:
“Blessed are you, O Lord, merciful God,
and blessed is your holy and honorable name.
Blessed are you in all your works for ever!”
At that very time,
the prayer of these two suppliants
was heard in the glorious presence of Almighty God.
So Raphael was sent to heal them both:
to remove the cataracts from Tobit’s eyes,
so that he might again see God’s sunlight;
and to marry Raguel’s daughter Sarah to Tobit’s son Tobiah,
and then drive the wicked demon Asmodeus from her.
We are finishing our second full day of Totus Tuus training here in Rockford, IL. It is so inspiring to see 72 young adults come together to grow in faith and love in order to share this with the youth of our dioceses. We are training with the dioceses of Chicago, Rockford, Peoria and Lexington, KY. The Church is alive and well!
We continue today with a reading from Tobit. In yesterday’s reading, Tobit scolded his wife for stealing the goat, which she did not do. So Tobit comes before the Lord in prayer. At one point, he asks the Lord to take his life. He pours out his heart to the Lord in supplication. It is not clear whether Tobit is asking for forgiveness for his actions, or he just feels hurt by the way his wife has spoken to him. What is important is his turning to God in prayer.
In a parallel story, Sarah has married seven husbands and they all have died before they had intercourse. The maid condemns Sarah as the one who is killing these men and Sarah is crushed by these words. Sarah, like Tobit, considers suicide or death as the best option at this point. But as she prays, she realizes that suicide would hurt her father.
The point of this story is that God hears the prayers of Tobit and Sarah and sends his angel Raphael to heal them and restore them. I love this story because the situations are so human. People are hurting and they turn to God in prayer. God hears their prayers, like he hears our prayers. What is important is that we relate everything to God in prayer. Don’t be afraid to share with the Lord what is on your heart, even if it is painful.
God loves us more than we can imagine. He always wants to heal us and love us. Are we ready to receive His love? Let us turn to Him today in prayer and supplication. Today your prayer may be in thanksgiving and gratitude. Tomorrow it may be one of sadness and mourning. The next day it may be one of despair or anger. It may be a prayer for a sick loved one. This is real life.
Whatever your prayer may be, be assured that the Lord is listening. He may not answer our prayers in exactly the way we want, but He will answer every prayer, leading us to new life in Him.
Have a great day!