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Allison Bible Matrimony

Thank God Tobit is in the Bible

tobit

Tobit is one of ancient Israel’s holy books, full of romance, suffering, mystery, and rebellion all wrapped around passionate prayers and an archangel dispatched from the throne of God. Written in Aramaic but lost, Greek translations have been used for centuries. The 1950’s discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Qumran caves gave us the Tobit manuscript in Hebrew and Aramaic. You can read the book here.

My favorite part of this story is the adorable marital relationship of Tobit and Anna. Yes, Raphael the archangel is gorgeous and brilliant; Tobiah the son is noble and courageous; and Sarah the bride is heartbroken and pious.
But Tobit and Anna crack me up.

They get snippy with each other (2:11-14):
“It’s a stolen goat.”
“No it’s not.”
“Yes it is.”
“Now listen here, Mister Virtue. You’re charitable to everyone else but me? Your true character is showing.”
Then Tobit was grief-stricken and cried out in prayer (3:1-6),

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. It is better for me to die than to endure so much misery in life and to hear these insults!

*Remember, he’d recently gone blind from bird droppings and bad medicine.

Tobit thinks he will soon die so he tells his son Tobiah to go on a journey to retrieve a money stash in another area. He also gives him instruction for life (chapter 4), including this loving bit about his wife (even though he’s probably still sore at her):

Honor your mother and do not abandon her as long as she lives. Do whatever pleases her and do not grieve her spirit in any way. Remember my son, that she went through many trials for your sake while you were in her womb. And when she dies, bury her in the same grave with me
(4:3-4).

When Tobiah packs up and says goodbye, Anna begins to weep, then fusses at her husband again (5:18-20), even accusing him of being money-hungry. Tobit is more concerned with her motherly grief than wifely insults this time, and reassures her, calling her my love. She stops crying (5:21-22).

*It gets very exciting at this point, with fish guts, a murdering demon, dead bridegrooms, secretly dug graves, a beautiful girl, and wedding bed prayers. Tobiah finally begins his journey home with the money (and a wife!) but is weeks late. Meanwhile, Tobit and Anna anxiously await.
Tobit is worried but continues supporting his wife, “Do not worry my love, he will be here soon” (10:1-6). She’s snippy again, though (10:7a), “Stop it and do not lie to me!” watching the road every day. When she finally sees Tobiah approaching, she turns to her husband (see, she’s not that mad) and exclaims, “Tobit, your son is coming!” (11:6)

And everything ends just fine. They get to enjoy their grandchildren and are buried together just as he instructed.

Tobit and Anna are awesome. There were some sharp words, aggravations, pain, and misunderstandings; but there was more honor, encouragement, and love. What a good story. What a good example.
Tobit, “God is good” and Anna, “grace” ~ thank God your story is in the Bible.

(A companion to Thank God Judith is in the Bible.)

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Allison Bible Faith Formation Ink Slingers Spiritual Growth

How Genesis 24 Foreshadows Christianity

One of the things I miss about Protestantism is my husband’s preaching. One of his favorite sermon topics was Old Testament types. A type is a person, event, or thing in the Old Testament that foreshadows something in the New Testament. That’s why learning that the Ark of the Covenant is a type of Mary was such a Eureka! moment for him as we studied Catholicism. There are many types in the Old Testament, like the Ark of the Covenant, that give us a glimpse of the New Testament. Genesis 24 is another ancient story that foreshadows Christianity.

rebekah and servantElderly Abraham dispatches his chief servant to locate a bride for his son Isaac. He finds the beautiful virgin Rebekah and silently prays. She treats him kindly and he showers her with golden bracelets and a ring (which she puts in her nose but nevermind that). Although her family initially resists, she agrees to leave immediately with the servant for her new home of Abraham’s to marry Isaac. They go; they wed; they’re comforted and happy; the end.

But look closer. Abraham is a picture of Father God, desiring a bride for His Son. The servant is a picture of the Holy Spirit ~ actively searching, praying, leading, and giving gifts for the journey. Isaac is a picture of Jesus, awaiting the arrival of His beloved to take into His home and love. Rebekah is a picture of the Church ~ chosen, blessed, helped, and travelling.

sending the holy spirit

Do you feel the same “cool!” or “amazing!” response that we do? Isn’t it cool and amazing to see real history and real theology intertwined like this? We can never grasp all that there is to know about God, but we need never cease learning for He is infinite and our souls can never be too full of God. There is connection between the very beginning of written Scriptures to the very end, as round and round, it is intertwined like a great ball of yarn in the Father’s Hands. He wants people home with His Son and He sends the Comforter to find us, decorate us, and bring us to the arms of Jesus!

Rebekah’s family sent her off with these words:
“Sister, may you grow into thousands of myriads;
May your descendants gain possession of the gates of their enemies! (Genesis 24:60)”

Yes Lord, we pray this for Your grateful Church.

(And if my daughter ever comes home with a nose ring, I’ll tell her she looks beautiful like Rebekah!)

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Adrienne Communion Doctrine Faith Formation Ink Slingers Mass Sacraments Sacred Scripture

Bible 101: Beginning with a Beginner

Gospel of John Chapter 1, NAB

“In the beginning…” Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1

I’ve been attending Mass all my life, and thus whether or not I was listening, I have been exposed to the whole Bible, most all passages as least once, and many passages (especially those in the Gospels) more times than could ever be counted. Yet… until recently I couldn’t have told you squat about squat in the Bible. So, here’s my attempt to help the me of yester-year (or, maybe even last year, or the year before). And for anyone out there who is at a similar place of complete indirection, I am inviting you into the Bible with me! I’m no Bible scholar, I’ve taken no formal classes, I have no credentials to do this … come, join me!

I’m planning to do a series on this subject, but have no plan laid out, except to get you to a place that you should be able to figure out where to find something in the Bible, beginning with the Gospels and the New Testament. Did I already lose you?

Many years ago I was watching an episode of Friends where the guys are in a hotel, and Ross steals the Bible from the nightstand drawer. Chandler asks Ross (a Jew) what he’s going to do with it, because it’s a New Testament! “Huh!” I thought. Yes, it was a light bulb moment. That’s how I learned that the New Testament has Jesus in it. The Old doesn’t. Thank you, Friends! I’m still impressed that at that time I even knew it was Jesus who separated Jews from Christians (Christians accept Jesus as the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament, the Jews do not and are still preparing for the Messiah).

When I was just beginning Catholic apologetics, I knew I needed (and had) Scripture on my side, and I would find my self asking the question, “I wonder where all in the Bible we can find out what Jesus actually said and did?” The answer was painted in the cupola of my parish church…. it would be Matthew, Mark, Luke and John… you know, the four Gospel writers. It was then I finally learned what distinguished the Gospels from other books in the Bible. Though, that left me wondering what was in the remaining 69 books…. I mean, isn’t the Bible supposed to be about God, and Jesus? Why only four books for Jesus? We’ll get to that in my series of rambling posts on beginning Scripture!

So, journey with me, your utterly unqualified tour guide, through the Sacred Scriptures! I’m hoping for an interactive learning experience. So please leave your questions (and encouragement!) in the com boxes, and for the Biblically enlightened among us, please, share your knowledge in the com boxes!

Up Next…

Next time we will be exploring Scripture in the Mass!  You’re on pins and needles, aren’t you?  I can see it in the glow of the screen on your face.  I love your enthusiasm!!

Homework

I will be assigning homework with each post to keep things interactive.  Today’s homework is to either find your Bible at home, or click the link below!  There.  You have a Bible at your fingertips.

Find readings for any day of the week and find also the Bible online here: http://www.usccb.org/bible/.