CANTICLE OF TOBIT (TOBIT CHAPTER 13)
One thing we may have observed about canticles is that most of them are songs of praise and thanksgiving to God for one miracle or another. In writing about canticles, I am not following a particular order, but I follow them as they occur in the divine office. The canticle of today is used in today’s morning prayer from the divine office.
The book of Tobit is one of the books you can only find in a Catholic bible, because they were removed from the protestant bible. These kind of books are called the deuterocanonical books. In the book of Tobit, we have a story of Tobit and his son Tobias. Tobit is a very good man who became blind by the action of a bird. Tobias set out to go look for medicine for his father, and he was accompanied by Raphael the Archangel, though Raphael disguised himself as a human being, taking the name Azariah. On that journey, Raphael did not only help Tobias to get medicine for his father’s eyes. He also helped Tobias to successfully get married to Sarah, who had been previously married to seven men, but each of them died at the night of the wedding. Through Raphael’s help, the evil spirit which killed her previous husbands could not harm Tobias.
At the end of a very successful journey, the so-called Brother Azariah revealed his real identity and asked Tobit to praise God for what God has done. He told them to thank God for what He has done. He told them to praise God with song. Then he ascended and disappeared from their sight. The following is Tobit’s obedient response to that.
Then Tobit spoke and composed a song of joyful praise; he said:
Blessed be God who lives forever,
because his kingship lasts for all ages.
For he afflicts and shows mercy,
casts down to the depths of Hades,
brings up from the great abyss.
What is there that can snatch from his hand.
Give thanks to him, you Israelites, in the presence of the nations,
for though he has scattered you among them,
even there recount his greatness.
Exalt him before every living being,
because he is your Lord, and he is your God,
our Father and God forever and ever!
He will afflict you for your iniquities,
but will have mercy on all of you.
He will gather you from all the nations
among whom you have been scattered.
When you turn back to him with all your heart,
and with all your soul do what is right before him,
Then he will turn to you,
and will hide his face from you no longer.
Now consider what he has done for you,
and give thanks with full voice.
Bless the Lord of righteousness,
and exalt the King of the ages.
In the land of my captivity I give thanks,
and declare his power and majesty to a sinful nation.
According to your heart do what is right before him:
perhaps there will be pardon for you.
As for me, I exalt my God,
my soul exalts the King of heaven,
and rejoices all the days of my life.
Let all sing praise to his greatness,
let all speak and give thanks in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, holy city,
he will afflict you for the works of your hands,
but will again pity the children of the righteous.
Give thanks to the Lord with righteousness,
and bless the King of the ages,
so that your tabernacle may be rebuilt in you with joy.
May he gladden within you all who are captives;
may he cherish within you all who are distressed
for all generations to come.
A bright light will shine to the limits of the earth.
Many nations will come to you from afar,
And inhabitants of all the ends of the earth
to your holy name,
Bearing in their hands gifts for the King of heaven.
Generation after generation will offer joyful worship in you;
your name will be great forever and ever.
Cursed be all who despise you and revile you;
cursed be all who hate you and speak a harsh word against you;
cursed be all who destroy you
and pull down your walls,
And all who overthrow your towers
and set fire to your homes.
But blessed forever be all those who respect you.
Go, then, rejoice and exult over the children of the righteous,
for they will all be gathered together
and will bless the Lord of the ages.
Happy are those who love you,
and happy are those who rejoice in your peace.
Happy too are all who grieve
over all your afflictions,
For they will rejoice over you
and behold all your joy forever.
1My soul, bless the Lord, the great King;
for Jerusalem will be rebuilt as his house forever.
Happy too will I be if a remnant of my offspring survives
to see your glory and to give thanks to the King of heaven!
The gates of Jerusalem will be built with sapphire and emerald,
and all your walls with precious stones.
The towers of Jerusalem will be built with gold,
and their battlements with purest gold.
The streets of Jerusalem will be paved
with rubies and stones of Ophir;