Skip to main content

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Introduction to Tobit[1]


Tobit, a devout and wealthy Israelite living among the captives deported to Nineveh from the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722/721 B.C., suffers severe reverses and is finally blinded. Because of his misfortunes he begs the Lord to let him die. But recalling the large sum he had formerly deposited in far-off Media, he sends his son Tobiah there to bring back the money. In Media, at this same time, a young woman, Sarah, also prays for death, because she has lost seven husbands, each killed in turn on his wedding night by the demon Asmodeus. God hears the prayers of Tobit and Sarah and sends the angel Raphael in human form to aid them both.





JULY 20 Saturday

Tobit, Chapter 1, Verse 18-19
18 Sennacherib returned from Judea, having fled during the days of the judgment enacted against him by the King of Heaven because of the blasphemies he had uttered; whomever he killed I buried. For in his rage he killed many Israelites, but I used to take their bodies away by stealth and bury them. So, when Sennacherib looked for them, he could not find them. 19 But a certain Ninevite went and informed the king about me, that I was burying them, and I went into hiding. When I realized that the king knew about me and that I was being hunted to be put to death, I became afraid and took flight.


Tobit although righteous was also not stupid, even though he opposed the evil in his neighborhood he did not like to suffer for it so he naturally kept his good deeds secret and did not want to be found out by the evil oppressors.

Tobit[1]
  1. Both names, Tobit and Tobias (sometimes written Tobiah), mean “Yahweh is my good.” Tobit was the son of Tobiel, which also means “Yahweh is my good.” He was a native of Thisbe in Naphtali.  Their land allotment lay NW of the Sea of Galilee.  After the division of David’s kingdom, Naphtali was one of the northern tribes.
  2. Tobit lamented the split, but that concern paled in contrast to his sadness over the people’s refusal to worship in the temple in Jerusalem. Jeroboam, the king of the northern kingdom, had set up “golden calves” at Dan (in the north) and Bethel (in the south) to make it easier for northern citizens not to have to go to Jerusalem.  Most were taking full advantage of that.  Tobit, however, continued to make the trek to Jerusalem to worship. He claimed he was the only one who did so.  He obviously felt very isolated from his countrymen, though occasionally he took his wife and relatives with him.
  3. Tobit offered sacrifices and gave alms to the temple, the priests, and the poor. When it was time for him to marry, he took a wife from his tribe. His wife’s name was Hannah, which means “Grace.” According to the story, Tobit was among those who were exiled to Nineveh during the reign of Shalmaneser (727-722 BCE).  Most scholars, however, think the deportation of Naphtali occurred under Tiglath-pileser (745-727 BCE). Tobit was a “young man” when this happened. He continued to be an observant Jew while in exile, refusing to eat Gentile food.
  4. As an observant Jew, he followed not only the spirit but also the letter of the law, even in Nineveh. Because he was faithful to the covenant, he was blessed by God. He was in good standing with Shalmaneser and worked in his court. It seems that his position might have been “buyer of provisions.”  This allowed him to travel frequently to Media, where he had family.
  5. His was an important position in Shalmaneser’s court. In gratitude for his services, Shalmaneser gave him ten talents of silver.  Scholars argue over the value of this amount, but it might have been $10,000-$20,000, surely a tidy sum in antiquity. On one of his trips to Media, he managed to give this money to his cousins for safekeeping.
  6. In addition to his work in the court, Tobit gave alms to poor people in Nineveh and made sure that every dead Jew had a proper burial.  Ironically, it would be those good deeds that would get him into trouble. When Sennacherib took over in 705 BCE, he instituted a new policy that the bodies of dead Jews should be left to rot as a message for others.  Undaunted, Tobit defied this law and carried off the bodies to bury them. For a Jew to remain unburied and have his body rot in the open or eaten by animals was the ultimate degradation.
  7. Burying bodies is the main “good work” of the book of Tobit.  After the new king came to power, such actions became very risky.  Tobit was essentially risking his life each time he did it. It was not long before his neighbors turned him in. When the authorities heard what Tobit was doing, they confiscated all of his possessions and would have killed him if he had not vanished, taking his wife and son with him.
Mountaineering[2]

Sir Edmund Hillary born on this day. He was the first man to summit Mt. Everest on May 29, 1953. Climbing a summit is deeply spiritual. Christ climbed tabor, Moses Sinai and even St. Patrick had a favorite climb today call Patrick’s Croagh. We even have Saints that were mountaineers. Today we will look at Pier Giorgio.

Pier Giorgio Michelangelo Frassati was born in Turin, Italy on April 6, 1901. His mother, Adelaide Ametis, was a painter. His father Alfredo was the founder and director of the newspaper, La Stampa," and was influential in Italian politics, holding positions as an Italian Senator and Ambassador to Germany.

At an early age, Pier Giorgio joined the Marian Sodality and the Apostleship of Prayer, and obtained permission to receive daily Communion (which was rare at that time). He developed a deep spiritual life which he never hesitated to share with his friends. The Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin were the two poles of his world of prayer. At the age of 17, he joined the St. Vincent de Paul Society and dedicated much of his spare time to serving the sick and the needy, caring for orphans, and assisting the demobilized servicemen returning from World War I.

He decided to become a mining engineer, studying at the Royal Polytechnic University of Turin, so he could
serve Christ better among the miners," as he told a friend. Although he considered his studies his first duty, they did not keep him from social and political activism. In 1919, he joined the Catholic Student Foundation and the organization known as Catholic Action. He became a very active member of the Peoples Party, which promoted the Catholic Churchs social teaching based on the principles of Pope Leo XIIIs encyclical letter, Rerum Novarum.  

What little he did have, Pier Giorgio gave to help the poor, even using his bus fare for charity and then running home to be on time for meals. The poor and the suffering were his masters, and he was literally their servant, which he considered a privilege. His charity did not simply involve giving something to others, but giving completely of himself. This was fed by daily communion with Christ in the Holy Eucharist and by frequent nocturnal adoration, by meditation on St. Paul’s “Hymn of Charity” (I Corinthians 13), and by the writings of St. Catherine of Siena. He often sacrificed vacations at the Frassati summer home in Pollone (outside of Turin) because, as he said, “If everybody leaves Turin, who will take care of the poor?”

In 1921, he was a central figure in Ravenna, enthusiastically helping to organize the first convention of Pax Romana, an association which had as its purpose the unification of all Catholic students throughout the world for the purpose of working together for universal peace.

Mountain climbing was one of his favorite sports. Outings in the mountains, which he organized with his friends, also served as opportunities for his apostolic work. He never lost the chance to lead his friends to Mass, to the reading of Scripture, and to praying the rosary.

He often went to the theater, to the opera, and to museums. He loved art and music, and could quote whole passages of the poet Dante.

Fondness for the epistles of St. Paul sparked his zeal for fraternal charity, and the fiery sermons of the Renaissance preacher and reformer Girolamo Savonarola and the writings of St. Catherine impelled him in 1922 to join the Lay Dominicans (Third Order of St. Dominic). He chose the name Girolamo after his personal hero, Savonarola. “I am a fervent admirer of this friar, who died as a saint at the stake," he wrote to a friend. Like his father, he was strongly anti-Fascist and did nothing to hide his political views. He physically defended the faith at times involved in fights, first with anticlerical Communists and later with Fascists. Participating in a Church-organized demonstration in Rome on one occasion, he stood up to police violence and rallied the other young people by grabbing the group’s banner, which the royal guards had knocked out of another student’s hands. Pier Giorgio held it even higher, while using the banner’s pole to fend off the blows of the guards.


Just before receiving his university degree, Pier Giorgio contracted poliomyelitis, which doctors later speculated he caught from the sick whom he tended. Neglecting his own health because his grandmother was dying, after six days of terrible suffering Pier Giorgio died at the age of 24 on July 4, 1925. His last preoccupation was for the poor. On the eve of his death, with a paralyzed hand he scribbled a message to a friend, asking him to take the medicine needed for injections to be given to Converso, a poor sick man he had been visiting.

Pier Giorgio’s funeral was a triumph. The streets of the city were lined with a multitude of mourners who were unknown to his family -- the poor and the needy whom he had served so unselfishly for seven years. Many of these people, in turn, were surprised to learn that the saintly young man they knew had actually been the heir of the influential Frassati family. Pope John Paul II, after visiting his original tomb in the family plot in Pollone, said in 1989: “I wanted to pay homage to a young man who was able to witness to Christ with singular effectiveness in this century of ours. When I was a young man, I, too, felt the beneficial influence of his example and, as a student, I was impressed by the force of his testimony."

On May 20, 1990, in St. Peter’s Square which was filled with thousands of people, the Pope beatified Pier Giorgio Frassati, calling him the “Man of the Eight Beatitudes.”


His mortal remains, found completely intact and incorrupt upon their exhumation on March 31, 1981, were transferred from the family tomb in Pollone to the cathedral in Turin. Many pilgrims, especially students and the young, come to the tomb of Blessed Frassati to seek favors and the courage to follow his example.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         90 Days for our Nation, Total Consecration-Day 11



[1]http://www.biblewise.com/bible_study/characters/tobit-and-tobias.php
[2] https://frassatiusa.org/frassati-biography

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

HOLY FACE DAY 4



Psalm 15, Verse 1-5 1 LORD, who may abide in your tent?Who may dwell on your holy mountain? 2Whoever walks without blame,doing what is right, speaking truth from the heart; 3 Who does not slander with his tongue, does no harm to a friend, never defames a neighbor; 4 Who disdains the wicked, but honors those who fear the LORD; Who keeps an oath despite the cost, 5lends no money at interest,[1] accepts no bribe against the innocent.
In life we are always moving toward the future. Our destination is life eternal with our creator. In our little sailboat of life, we tend to be either moving toward God by taking advantage of His graces which provide the wind for our sails or we do nothing but drift.
Napoleon Hill noted in his manuscript on a book he never published entitled “Outwitting the devil” stated drifting was one of the tools the devil uses to keep us off tack and not sailing towards God’s mountain. A Protection against drifting lies within easy reach of every human being …

Friday, February 21, 2020

CARNIVAL FRIDAY
Sirach, Chapter 22, Verse 18 Small stones lying on an open height will not remain when the wind blows; So, a timid mind based on foolish plans cannot stand up to fear of any kind.
The wind is often used as a representation of the Holy Spirit in the bible. I wonder if this verse expresses the trinity of love which compels us to protect life and preserve the liberty to pursue the will of the Father in our lives.
Human Life and Dignity[1]
For the Church, there is no distinction between defending human life and promoting the dignity of the human person. Pope Benedict XVI writes in Caritas in Veritate. . . that "The Church forcefully maintains this link between life ethics and social ethics, fully aware that 'a society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued …

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Thursday after Sexagesima-Carnival holy face (Day 5) FRANCISCO AND JACINTA MARTO

Sirach, Chapter 22, Verse 16 A wooden beam firmly bonded into a building is not loosened by an earthquake; So the mind firmly resolved after careful deliberation will not be afraid at any time.
A prudent mind firmly resolved is undisturbed by violent and conflicting thoughts. Sometimes we all have senseless thoughts and feelings which shake us, but faith is a firm anchor for our thoughts. We indeed do have the power within ourselves to choose not to react to impulsive thoughts.
Sacredness[1]
·Holiness consists in friendship with God. If we would be in any sense the friends of God, we must have at least that desire for holiness without which such friendship would be impossible; growth in the knowledge of God is the deepening of this friendship. ·To know God is to know self and if we know ourselves well, we know we have one or two prominent sins that have dogged our life’s path for years, and against these we str…

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Washington's birthday-Be Humble-Billy Graham



Sirach, Chapter 23, Verse 27 Thus, all who dwell on the earth shall know, all who remain in the world shall understand, that nothing is better than the fear of the Lord, nothing sweeter than obeying the commandments of the Lord.
What happens when those who dwell on the earth no longer know God and what should we do when it becomes abundantly clear to us that our duty to God is threatened by the governments of men?
The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church[1]addresses the issue of when and how St. Peter's teaching that obedience to God comes before obedience to men as it applies in the modern Christian's life.
Presciently, or perhaps better, prophetically, Pope Benedict XVI foresaw and foresees increasing conflict between American Catholics and a public authority increasingly secularized and increasingly hostile to the moral values of its Catholic citizens. The conflict is caused by the increasing demands of the State to &qu…

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

HOLY FACE DAY 3
Sirach, Chapter 21, Verse 11
Those who keep the Law control their thoughts; perfect fear of the Lord is wisdom.
If you have not had much success with your habitual sins and find yourself always confessing the same sins over and over: perhaps this verse will provide a key to real change: those who control their thoughts keep the law; for where the mind goes unchecked the body will follow. The body is a good servant but a poor master.
One of the most remarkable characteristics[1] of all forms of organic life is the power to adapt itself to the circumstances in which it is placed. It will endeavor under the most altered conditions to live, and, in order to live, it will resort to all kinds of contrivances, sometimes effecting such changes in its outward appearance that none but a trained eye could detect its identity. Yet with all these adaptations, it will preserve its identity. Man possesses this power in perhaps a higher degree than any other form of life. He can find his …

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Sirach, Chapter 25, Verse 6
The crown of the elderly, wide experience; their glory, the fear of the Lord.
We used to say in the military to the younger troops fresh out of high school that joined the military that beyond showing us normal military courtesy they really should listen and follow what we do because “We survived youth.” The fact is experience is the best teacher and experience teaches us that God is real, and the older ones have learned that fear of the Lord is more than a crown of glory it is the key to reaching old age.
One of the most curious phenomenon of our modern society is that by the year 2020 we will have five generations working together: Each with different values and views of life.
The Johnsons report[1] that each generation has been influenced by the major historical events, social trends, and cultural phenomena of its time. These forces shape ideas about everything from expectations and perceptions about what the workplace will provide and how employees should…

Monday, February 17, 2020

HOLY FACE DAY 2-PRESIDENTS DAY-SERVITES
Sirach, Chapter 21, Verse 6 Whoever hates correction walks the sinner’s path, but whoever fears the Lord repents in his heart.
At times God asks us to leave our personal Egypt’s and leads us into the desert to correct our sinful ways so he can make us more by raising us up. What is your “Egypt”? What is your temptation, your land of (empty) promise? What has placed you under bondage?
For some it could be that “dream” job across the country. For others it could be that big house, or luxury car. Chances are, if you find yourself saying something like, “Things would better if I could only…”, then you have an “Egypt” of your own. In most cases your “Egypt” is really just another heap of steaming trouble, bundled in empty hope and wrapped with false promise. God knows that humility, and a sense of self-worth centered in God’s grace and not in “things” and “stuff” is what leads to a heart that is not been made cynical by the disappointments of materialism…

Friday, May 10, 2019

ST. DAMIEN OF MOLOKAI

1 Samuel, Chapter 28, Verse 20 Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, in great fear because of Samuel’s message. He had no strength left, since he had eaten nothing all that day and night.
Christ is the strength of the weak and the humble and the confidence of those who trust in him. Christ says to us, “My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me. (Jn. 10:27) Saul was in great fear because the spirit of God had long ago left him, and he no longer heard the voice of God. In desperation now that Samuel had died was to have the witch of Endor act as a medium to conjure up the spirit of Samuel to help save him from the Philistines. Saul broke his own laws by seeking the aid of a sorcerer. The Israelites were a Holy people and Saul could not understand the Ends never justify the means. No, we must be calm and listen to the voice of he that was the epitome of fairness and justice that took upon Himself our sins to the cross and thus be…

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Sexagesima Sunday NOVENA TO THE HOLY FACE

Sirach, Chapter 19, Verse 24 Better are the God-fearing who have little understanding than those of great intelligence who violate the Law.
Seek to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.
Sexagesima-The perils of exile (persecution) and the fruits of asceticism (the Word being sown into our hearts).
Sexagesima literally means "sixtieth," though it only falls 56 days before Easter. During these weeks contemplate the ways you can build up your fear of the Lord remembering that fear of the Lord is really a deep abiding love for God.
The Introit of the Mass is taken from the forty-third psalm: Arise; why sleepest Thou, O Lord? Arise, and cast us not off to the end; why turnest Thou Thy face away, and forgettest our trouble? for our soul is humbled down to the dust; our belly cleaveth to the earth. Arise, O Lord, help us, and redeem us for Thy name’s sake. We have heard, O God, with our ears; our fathers have declared to us.
Prayer…

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Ash Wednesday

Deuteronomy, Chapter 18, Verse 21-22 21 Should you say to yourselves, “How can we recognize that a word is one the LORD has not spoken?”, 22 if a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD but the word does not come true, it is a word the LORD did not speak. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; do not fear him.
Even saints at times may have spoken presumptuously. Let us meditate on the words of Padre Pio, 
“Love and fear must go united together, fear without love becomes cowardice. Love without fear becomes presumption. When there is love without fear, love runs without prudence and without restraint, without taking care where it is going.”
This is the great beauty of the Holy Spirit for it tells us when even a very holy person speaks not every word they speak comes from God. We error sometimes in this way, making men into gods; but a heart that is filled with the spirit of God is filled with quiet joy and even if the person were to be imprisoned, they can find true freedom…