OK. How often do we think of Tobit? The two ministries that Tobit is known for are burial of the dead and almsgiving. He would sneak out at night and bury the fallen soldiers, even though they weren’t Jewish and it was likely to get him into trouble. Here is what he had to say to his son about almsgiving:
Give alms of thy substance; and when thou givest alms, let not thine eye be envious, neither turn thy face from any poor, and the face of God shall not be turned away from thee.
If thou hast abundance give alms accordingly: if thou have but a little, be not afraid to give according to that little:
For thou layest up a good treasure for thyself against the day of necessity.
Because that alms do deliver from death, and suffereth not to come into darkness.
For alms is a good gift unto all that give it in the sight of the most High.
– Tobit 4:7-11
Prayer is good with fasting and alms and righteousness. A little with righteousness is better than much with unrighteousness. It is better to give alms than to lay up gold:
For alms doth deliver from death, and shall purge away all sin. Those that exercise alms and righteousness shall be filled with life:
But they that sin are enemies to their own life.
– Tobit 12:8-10
The Holy Archangel Raphael appeared to Tobit and aided him and his family in various ways. This icon has symbols in the corners which recall Tobit’s story.
Tobias was Tobit’s son. Tobias’ dog that accompanied him on the journey is on the upper left, The fish that nearly ate Tobias, but instead was eaten by him, and whose organs were used to deliver Sarah from the demon and Tobit from blindness is on the upper right. An eye representing Tobit’s sight that was restored is on the lower left. A bag of coins representing the treasure that was recovered is on the lower right. Tobit is a wonderful tale of stewardship, faith and doubt, romance and an ecology that encompasses the seen and unseen worlds in time and eternity. it is in Tobit that we learn that Raphael is one of the seven Angels who bear the prayers of the saints to the throne of God.
This icon is by the hand of Nick Papas of Houston, TX, and is avaiable from www.comeandseeicons.com