The chapter ends with a comment on poverty. In Tobit 4:21, Tobit tells his son:
21 Do not be discouraged, my child, because of our poverty. You will be a rich man if you fear God, avoid all sin, and do what is right before the Lord your God.Reading: Tobit 4.
Meditation: Most of Tobit's advice to his son would be pertinent today, both for us and for our children, as would be his final comment in chapter 4. I wonder if we give our children as sound advice. Of course, if we give them no advice, we will still give them advice. They watch us; they talk with us; they apprehend our values. So, without saying one word, we do end up giving them advice. I found out that not too long ago when my oldest daughter, Lizzie, posted on facebook for one of my birthdays, "Lessons from Mom." (While they all make sense, given the shared experiences of her youth, I had no idea at the time that I was imparting such lessons.) We would do well to think about the advice we are giving through our everyday behavior before and not after our children have determined just what that advice might be.
The last comment caught my attention especially for the chihuahua of poverty has followed for a good portion of my life: throughout my childhood and, because of two children with birth defects (and a third with birth defects whom we took in), throughout the childhood of my children. Now, my older son is experiencing the same poverty for the same reason. He has an adequate income were he to have a normal family life; however, with two children with birth defects, the salary is just not adequate to the task. Donnie and I help as we can. The rest is up to God. I believe that Tobit is correct. We should not be discouraged by poverty. There is so much in life more important than money. One can have a very good life without money. A good life is not necessarily a carefree life. In fact, a good life might just be the opposite.
Contemplation: That is far as I can go with you this Monday morning. I now retire to private prayer to thank God for everything I have experienced in my life, including decades of poverty up until just a few years ago. I will praise God for the ways in which God taught me to appreciate a lack of fiscal riches and enjoy the human riches I was given. The only thing I would ask is for God to continue to decide what I will have and will not for I have learned that if I have a lot, then I can, like Tobit suggests, give much to others, and if I have only a little, then I can accept from others and I can use my God-given creativity in how I go about making the best of whatever I do have -- and that is truly exciting. I don't ever remember complaining about the poverty or envying others, but in the event that I have and do not remember, then those will be points of repentance for me. Then I will move on to contemplation, my favorite part of the day, letting God take over the direction in which my relationship with Him moves.
I will leave you now to your prayer and contemplation. First, though, I would like to bring to your attention a Monday morning prayer post that you might enjoy:
Fr. Austin Fleming, priest of the Archdiocese of Boston and pastor in Concord, Massachusetts, posts a prayer each Monday morning that he calls "Monday Morning Offering." I enjoy his prayers very much. I think you also will find them inspirational. He has graciously given me permission to include a link to his blog on my Monday Morning Meditation posts. (During the week, he also posts great homilies and other thoughtful discussions. I enjoy reading those, too, as do readers of this blog who have taken the stroll over to his blog.)
For additional inspiration throughout the week, I would point out two sets of blogs: (1) the list of devotional blogs on my sidebar and (2) my blogroll, where I am following a number of inspirational priests and writers about spiritual matters. I learn so very much from all these people. I highly recommend them to you.