Posted by: liturgicalyear | June 4, 2013

Tobit and Giving Thanks for Suffering

My prayer these days has been very dry and scattered.  Not at all my desire, but nonetheless the place I find myself.  As the summer days change the rhythm of life, I’m trying to be more disciplined in meditating and really listening to God.  Of course, it requires my being still – not my strong point.

Yesterday morning, the Holy Spirit directed me to Psalm 134 and to page 512 of St. Faustina’s Diary, Divine Mercy in my Soul .

Psalm 134 commands us to bless the Lord – not invites, nor cajoles, but commands.  Why? Because praise and blessing lift the heart, mind, and spirit in a way that nothing else does, and it’s easy to grow lazy in blessing God.  What follows this laziness is often an inward focus, examining our worries and not our blessings.  In order to live the abundant life God has prepared for us and to grow in holiness and hope, we must keep your eyes, “fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” (Heb 12:2)  We must pray as the psalmist does, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” (Ps 103:2)  In this gaze and blessing lie the clear path through the narrow gate (Mt 7:13).  Thank you, Holy Spirit, for reminding me of this truth.

St. Faustina’s words jumped off the page.  The past 6 months have been very challenging for a whole bunch of reasons. The weight of the cross is causing me to stumble, and I can’t seem to get out of my own way.  In her diary, St. Faustina begins the year in which she would die at age 33, by thanking God for the suffering she would endure as she travelled the road to death saying, “For all this, I thank You as of today because, at the moment when You hand me the cup, my heart may not be capable of giving thanks.” (Diary, 1449)  Oh, how very true!  Can’t we all relate to that?  We can embrace Jesus saying, “Oh Father, let this cup pass me by,” but following it with, “but not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42) doesn’t flow quite as easily from our lips. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for reminding me of this truth.

The Old Testament daily mass readings of yesterday, today, and the days ahead come from the book of Tobit who suffers greatly, even to the point of praying for death.  As hard as it is, Tobit does not abandon God but remains faithful in his hope and faith.  I encourage you to stay attuned this week by following along with the daily mass readings and reflecting on Tobit’s journey through his trials and the mighty work that God performs through them.  I don’t know about you, but  I sometimes think that Tobit is second to Job in the Old Testament in terms learning from one’s suffering.

So today, whether you are in a place of joy and peace or a place of sorrow and pain, praise and bless God thanking him in advance for the hard stuff that will happen, because he purifies us in that process and draws us closer to himself.  Isn’t that really where we all want to be?

St. Faustina, pray for us!  Anne

Song for the day:  Still by Watermark

Psalm 134

O come, bless the LORD,
all you servants of the LORD
You who stand in the house of the LORD
throughout the nights.
Lift up your hands toward the sanctuary,
and bless the LORD.
May the LORD bless you from Zion,
the Maker of heaven and earth. (Ps 134)

Divine Mercy in my Soul 
St. Faustina

1449 Welcome to you, New Year, in the course of which my perfection will be accomplished.  Thank You in advance, O Lord, for everything Your goodness will send me. Thank You for the cup of suffering from which I shall daily drink. Do not diminish its bitterness, O Lord, but strengthen my lips that, while drinking of this bitterness, they may know how to smile for love of You, my Master. I thank You for Your countless comforts and graces that flow down upon me each day like the morning dew, silently, imperceptibly, which no curious eye may notice, and which are known only to You and me, O Lord. For all this, I thank You as of today because, at the moment when You hand me the cup, my heart may not be capable of giving thanks.

1450 So today I submit myself completely and with loving consent to Your holy will, O Lord, and to Your most wise decrees, which are always full of clemency and mercy for me, though at times I can neither understand nor fathom them. O my Master, I surrender myself completely to You, who are the rudder of my soul; steer it Yourself according to Your divine wishes. I enclose myself in Your most compassionate Heart, which is a sea of unfathomable mercy.

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