|Tobiah and Sarah kneeling in prayer on their wedding night while Raphael slays the demon.|
After I read all of my B90 day one reading in Genesis, I was greeted by an email from our B90 small group leader that we would be delaying the start for one week. I was so excited! Why? Because I can spend this week reading my 7 deuterocanonical books! Yeehaw!
So, last night I read Tobit. All of Tobit. It's not that long, and it's written as an engaging story in narrative form. For all my non-Catholic-y readers, you can read the Book of Tobit here. There is also an introduction at the link, which is the same introduction I'm reading in my Catholic Study Bible. How convenient! In the Catholic bible, Tobit is located after the Book of Nehemiah.
I love how the introduction to Tobit states the major themes that are taught in the text: fidelity to the law, the intercessory function of angels, piety toward parents, the purity of marriage, reverence for the dead, and the value of almsgiving, prayer, and fasting. It's easy to see all of this in Tobit. I really liked how it wasn't in your face like, "OH, woe to you who did not fast and pray, death be to your kinsmen!" It was embedded throughout the text in the virtues, values and principles of the characters. The characters demonstrated these virtues through their words and actions, which is the best example there can be.
I won't tell you the entire story (don't want to spoil it for the newbies to Tobit!), but anytime there is an archangel in disguise to help humans and the slayage of a demon in order for a wedding to be consummated, I'm intrigued. Of course, my favorite part is this prayer that Tobiah prays with Sarah on their wedding night...
"When the girl's parents left the bedroom and closed the door behind them, Tobiah arose from bed and said to his wife, 'My love, get up. Let us pray and beg our Lord to have mercy on us and to grand us deliverance.' She got up, and they started to pray and beg that deliverance might be theirs. He began with these words:
'Blessed are you, O God of our fathers; praised be your name forever and ever.
Let the heavens and all your creation praise you forever.
You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve to be his help and support; and from these two the human race descended.
You said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone; let us make him a partner like himself.'
Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine not because of lust, but for a noble purpose.
Call down your mercy on me and on her, and allow us to live together to a happy old age.'"