There are three parts to the long prayer seen in today’s passage from Tobit. The first part praises God for His mercy and sings out in gratitude. The second part is a prophecy and blessing for Jerusalem. The last part combines the first two parts and praises God and longs for the restoration of Jerusalem.
It’s not surprising that thankfulness for God’s mercy is said first because gratitude and mercy go hand in hand. We can’t be grateful without something to be grateful for and someone to thank. All gratitude and mercy begins and ends with God. It’s very much like a prayer said at the beginning of Adoration:
“O Sacrament most holy!
O Sacrament divine!
All praise and all thanksgiving
be every moment Thine.”
When I read Tobit 13:11 and think about the bright light shining from Jerusalem and how many nations will come to the city bearing gifts, I think of the coming of Christ in the Nativity. Although Jesus was born in Bethlehem, kings from foreign nations travelled to pay him homage.
The last third of this chapter (v. 12-18) parallel the Book of Revelation. In Revelation 20, those who sided with the devil are cursed, thrown into a fiery eternal “home.” Those who are faithful to God, however, are welcomed into a new Heaven and a new earth.
Notice the similarities between the way that Tobit describes the gates of Jerusalem and the way that John describes “The New Jerusalem” in Revelation. A city made of gold and precious stones. John goes on to say that the gates of the New Jerusalem will never be closed and that there would be no need for a temple because everyone is already in the presence of God.
We may not be able to go to Jerusalem, but we can be in the presence of God through prayer, especially if we go to Adoration. In Adoration, a consecrated Host is held on display inside a monstrance. Hard as it is to believe, Jesus is fully present in the Eucharist. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:
“It is highly fitting that Christ should have wanted to remain present to his Church in this unique way. Since Christ was about to take his departure from his own in his visible form, he wanted to give us his sacramental presence; since he was about to offer himself on the cross to save us, he wanted us to have the memorial of the love with which he loved us ‘to the end,’ even to the giving of his life. In his Eucharistic presence he remains mysteriously in our midst as the one who loved us and gave himself up for us...” (CCC Paragraph 1380)
If you get the chance, go to Adoration and meditate on today’s passages. Then, at the end of your prayer time (I recommend spending an hour), pray the Divine Praises. I pray that you will receive many graces from spending time in His presence!
STUDY QUESTIONS: Do you credit the good things in your life to God? If not, what do you think caused the good things? What are your feelings towards spending time in prayer? Do you feel like it restores you or is it tedious? What are some ways you feel like you can improve on your prayer time?