Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Praying for death.

The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.
If tomorrow wasn't Ash Wednesday, the first reading for Mass would most likely be from Wednesday of the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time, Tobit's prayer for death.  I am always consoled by all of the Old Testament prophets' conduct in dejection, as well as their prayers for death in the face of failure or disappointment - even insult.  It isn't just a Jewish thing to want to stick your head in the oven and pour out your lament to God.  God knows "of what we are made, he remembers we are dust." - Ps. 102: 14.  Sometimes I pray with the prophet:
"Yes, your judgements are many and true
in dealing with me as my sins deserve.
For I have not kept your commandments,
nor have I trodden the paths of truth before you.
So now deal with me as you please,
and command my life breath to be taken from me,
that I may go from the face of the earth
into dust..." - Tobit 3
"Unless the seed falls to the ground and dies..."  That is an awesome saying.


  1. Terry,

    As usual, you continue to inspire. You are one of the few bright spots in my blogroll.

    Thanks for today's inspiration!

  2. Anonymous12:27 PM

    I don't know if it's accurate to say that I "pray" for death sometimes, but I do hope for it, and almost wish that I was dead at times. Maybe it's because so much seems futile, and no man is really good. All is vanity.

    Is it bad/wrong to pray or wish for death?

  3. Thanks Joe.

    Anonymous - I do not think God is pleased by such a prayer - but he seems to respond to it. What is more, I think he understand the heart that prays such a prayer and is moved by it. The state of destitution a soul finds itself in to pray such a prayer is a depth only the Holy Spirit can navigate.

  4. I was reading from Tobit last night,from my daughter's St. Joseph Bible. There are study notes and commentary in it, and it said about the book of Tobit, that it was "a religious novel" and that much of it, though based on real places and happenings, is fictional.
    Is this right?

  5. Kelly - it is considered apocryphal based upon historical and cultural realities. The book is divinely inspired however and is canonical. The book was written for instruction, inspiration and encouragement. As St Paul told Timothy - it is useful "for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness."

  6. Thanks, Terry!, I don't doubt its relevance, or its place in the canon, I just never knew that about it, and it kind of changes how I experience it as I read. I guess it does seem kind of fantastic in places...idk. Just new information for me.


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