Psalm 146:1-2, 6-10
Saint Boniface, Bishop and Martyr
There was joy for all the Jews who lived in Nineveh. (Tobit 11:17)
What a happy ending! Tobit regained his sight, Sarah was happily married to Tobiah, and the entire family rejoiced in God’s blessings. But the journey to that point was far from easy. Sarah had married and lost seven husbands, and a grave had been dug for Tobiah on their wedding night. Tobit had to endure the pain of Tobiah smearing his eyes with fish gall (which made them “smart”) and peeling off his cataracts with both hands!
The Book of Tobit shows us that pain isn’t always bad. Difficulty is often part of the path of healing. It isn’t that God wants us to suffer, but he knows that suffering gives us the opportunity to cooperate with his grace. It forces the decision of whether we will sink into self-pity or keep following him in trust. This can take effort on our part. Tobiah had faith and a good disposition, but it couldn’t take him far enough. He had to act on his faith and “assault” his father’s eyes with the gall.
Sometimes our own faith requires painful decisions and a measure of discomfort. Maybe there was a time when you knew you needed to go to Confession, and it took all your will to approach the priest. Afterward, you experienced a freedom that would have been impossible had you not humbled yourself and received the grace of the sacrament. Or perhaps you have endured illness, either yours or that of someone close to you. You couldn’t understand why there was such suffering, but as you walked through it, you saw opportunities to grow closer to Christ. You discovered his presence and his love in ways you normally wouldn’t have seen.
Just because things look bleak, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a “happy ending” coming. We can listen to the words that Tobiah told his father, the same words Sarah’s mother told her: “Take courage!” As St. John Paul II used to say, “Be not afraid!” Trust God to walk with you through your challenges, and in the end, you’ll find a joy that overflows.
“Father, I won’t run away from discomfort. Help me to embrace everything you offer me so that I can receive your life.”~WAU