Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Traveling with the Angel

Icon of the Archangel Raphael.

I just read The Book of Tobit, written in the 2nd century BC and containing 14 short chapters. Very impressive and delightful little book. It's a book of scripture that is part of the Catholic and Orthodox biblical canon (The Bible). Instead, it usually doesn't belong to The Bible of the Protestants – they regard Tobit as apocryphal book.

The book tells of a man called Tobit who is righteous and had been blinded by a freak accident involving birds, and his son, Tobias who journeys out to collect a debt owed to his father but Tobias gets married on the way while being accompanied and guided by Raphael the Archangel who calls himself Azarias which means God helps, who also helps Tobias' wife and Tobit.

The Book of Tobit is also a love story in two ways: it tells us of God's love for man, and human love for human. A young woman named Sarah prays for death in despair. She has lost seven husbands (!) to the demon of lust (Asmodeus) who abducts and kills every man she marries on their wedding night before the marriage can be consummated. God sends the Archangel Raphael free Sarah from the demon.

Raphael tells Tobias of the beautiful Sarah, whom Tobias has the right to marry, because she is related to his tribe. He instructs the young man to burn the fish's liver and heart to drive away the demon when he attacks on the wedding night. The two marry, and the fumes of the burning organs drive the demon to Upper Egypt, where Raphael follows and binds him. Wow! Such a weird story.

There are really some mystical and strange aspect in this book, and momentarily it's even humorous. Well, Martin Luther called it comedy, but I think he was only partly right. For the most part, there is a very serious message in this book, comparing The Book of Job.

Are you interested to read this strange little travelling story? If so, please click here to find it. The book is available in English, in Russian and also in some other languages. Finnish version is available here.

May angel guide you, like he guided young Tobias on his journey. We are never alone in this world. We are surrounded by countless spirits – angels and demons. The spirit world is very real. Thank God, good is always stronger than evil.


Attachment: The Orthodox Christian prayer to your Guardian Angel

O Angel of Christ, holy guardian and protector of my soul and body, forgive me of everything I have done to offend you every day, and protect me from all influence and temptation of the evil one. May I never offend God by my sin. Pray for me to the Lord, that He may make me worthy of the grace of the All-holy Trinity, and of the Most Blessed Theotokos [the Mother of God], and of all the Saints. Amen.