St Norbert

…And together they said, ‘Amen, amen,’ and laid down for the night.
Tobit 6: 10 – 8: 9
. . .

Today’s reading from Tobit fascinates me, as I see the prayer of Tobit and Sarah in context. I was acquainted to with the prayer, but until today could not have related the story of Tobit and Sarah that leads up to it. It is a lovely prayer, in which the newly-joined couple ask for God’s blessing, especially (in Tobit’s words) ‘that she and I may grow old together.’ Not an unusual prayer for newlyweds.
The context, however, shows that Tobit is taking his life in his hands. Sarah’s seven previous husbands all died on the wedding night, before consummating the marriage. Tobit has been reassured by the angel Raphael that the Sarah will be released from the demon responsible for the deaths of the others. Raguel, Sarah’s father, warns Tobit about the fate of the others, but Tobit will not be dissuaded.
Going in to Sarah is an act of faith, trusting that the angel of the Lord has kept that promise. If not, Tobit might die like the others. It reminded me of Luke 5, in which Peter trusts Jesus: he goes out again, into the waters in which he’s found no fish, and tries again.
‘At your bidding, Lord…’ It is the hardest place to try again, the place we’ve found barren, lifeless, empty. But that is often where the greatest fruit is to be found, and where we discover who we are, and who Jesus is, more profoundly than before.

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