Our Need of God

Friday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Tb 11:5-17

Anna sat watching the road by which her son was to come.
When she saw him coming, she exclaimed to his father,
"Tobit, your son is coming, and the man who traveled with him!"

Raphael said to Tobiah before he reached his father:
"I am certain that his eyes will be opened.
Smear the fish gall on them.
This medicine will make the cataracts shrink and peel off from his eyes;
then your father will again be able to see the light of day."

Then Anna ran up to her son, threw her arms around him,
and said to him,
"Now that I have seen you again, son, I am ready to die!"
And she sobbed aloud.

Tobit got up and stumbled out through the courtyard gate.
Tobiah went up to him with the fish gall in his hand,
and holding him firmly, blew into his eyes.
"Courage, father," he said.
Next he smeared the medicine on his eyes, and it made them smart.
Then, beginning at the corners of Tobit's eyes,
Tobiah used both hands to peel off the cataracts.

When Tobit saw his son, he threw his arms around him and wept.
He exclaimed, "I can see you, son, the light of my eyes!"
Then he said:

"Blessed be God,
and praised be his great name,
and blessed be all his holy angels.
May his holy name be praised
throughout all the ages,
Because it was he who scourged me,
and it is he who has had mercy on me.
Behold, I now see my son Tobiah!"

Then Tobit went back in, rejoicing and praising God with full voice
for everything that had happened.
Tobiah told his father that
the Lord God had granted him a successful journey;
that he had brought back the money;
and that he had married Raguel's daughter Sarah,
who would arrive shortly,
for she was approaching the gate of Nineveh.

Tobit and Anna rejoiced
and went out to the gate of Nineveh
to meet their daughter-in-law.
When the people of Nineveh saw Tobit walking along briskly,
with no one leading him by the hand, they were amazed.
Before them all Tobit proclaimed
how God had mercifully restored sight to his eyes.
When Tobit reached Sarah, the wife of his son Tobiah,
he greeted her: "Welcome, my daughter!
Blessed be your God for bringing you to us, daughter!
Blessed is your father, and blessed is my son Tobiah,
and blessed are you, daughter!
Welcome to your home with blessing and joy.
Come in, daughter!"
That day there was joy for all the Jews who lived in Nineveh.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 146:1b-2, 6c-7, 8-9a, 9bc-10

R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD, O my soul;
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God while I live.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The LORD keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts
The LORD shall reign forever,
your God, O Zion, through all generations! Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 14:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 12:35-37

As Jesus was teaching in the temple area he said,
"How do the scribes claim that the Christ is the son of David?
David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said:

The Lord said to my lord,
'Sit at my right hand
until I place your enemies under your feet.'

David himself calls him 'lord';
so how is he his son?"
The great crowd heard this with delight.

- - -
Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

I was talking to my mom recently about a foul mood that I could not shake. It lasted for days, and I was aware the whole time that there was a physical cause to my mood: dropping progesterone. I was so, so crabby. I tried to be a kind wife and friend and a patient parent, but I felt so annoyed all day long. My mom suggested to me that this mood, my desire and yet inability to shake it, and this knowledge of my own misery was a gift. The Lord, in a sense, scourged me with this mood through the hormonal cycles I experience as a woman.

May his holy name be praised
throughout all the ages,
Because it was he who scourged me,
and it is he who has had mercy on me. (Tobit 11:14-15)

Perhaps PMS is a result of the Fall. Yet, even this difficulty outside my control reveals to me how utterly dependent I am on the mercy of God. He is the one who helps me in all good that I do, any act of charity I perform. And just when I think I am doing well on my own, I hit the end of my cycle, have a bad night of sleep, or simply wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

When a good man is troubled, tempted, or vexed by evil thoughts, he comes more clearly than ever to realize his need of God, without whom he can do nothing good. (Saint Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, I. 12, source.)

I am like Tobit, striving to live justly, but struck blind in my own attempts to follow God’s commandments. Tobit was physically blinded after an act of charity and God brought him healing through the gall of a fish. I am spiritually blind, taking pride in my own accomplishments and striving to prove I am enough. When my self-sufficiency falls flat, His mercy is the gall that heals my soul and frees me from my blindness of heart. God, in His great mercy, allows us to fail at times in order to see more clearly how feeble we are without Him. And when He picks us back up, let us, like Tobit, give Him praise.

Where in your life are you prideful of your own abilities? Have you forgotten that all you have is a gift from God, and it is He who deserves the credit? Offer Him your weakness and let Him be your strength.

Susanna Spencer once studied theology and philosophy, but now happily cares for her three adorable little girls, toddler boy, and her dear husband in Saint Paul. She loves beautiful liturgies, cooking delicious meals, baking amazing sweets, reading good books, raising her children, casually following baseball, and talking to her philosopher husband. You can find out more about her here.


  • Reply
    Crystal Schippers
    June 9, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Oh my, do I understand the drop of progesterone. Severe headaches an awful mood and body pain that is indescribable.

    Progessence Serum is wild yam it’s organic and natural and it’s a game changer. Clary Sage essential oil and many others! I’ve been a massage therapist and using oils for 15 years my member #789132. I truly see God in these oils unlike any other company – all the best and thank you for your stories and reflections.

  • Reply
    Crystal Cormier
    June 9, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Such a relatable devotion this morning!! My struggle is so similar! And has been a current focus of transformation for me. Im not the sweetest person when I wake up (closed off, isloting, etc. for no explainable reason), not the sweetest person when I’m tired or hangry. I always… usually direct it towards my sweet husband who will kindly look at me and say, “fight it babe”, ” fight the urge”. But when he told me one day, ” you are just not nice”, it really bugged me because I knew it was painfully true. Why does my tiredness or stress have to equal moody or unpleasant behavior? I felt very convicted and very unChristlike in my own home, in my own mission and vocation. So I prayed and felt led to start giving the first of my day to prayer, Rosary, devotion, and journaling. I’ve never journaled before. Never never interested me. It’s 3 weeks now and boy has it made a drastic difference that’s not forced by me. There’s something pleasantly shifting inside of me thats manifesting physically. I find myself longing for my special morning time. I feel like there is so much more purpose in my faith journey! And I feel graces all around me and a deep joy that is so different. I desperately needed Him! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Reply
    Kate Anderson
    June 9, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Beautiful post, Susanna! It’s so hard to accept our weaknesses and failings, especially when our good intentions to love the Lord and our neighbors aren’t enough! We need great humility to embrace our smallness, to accept the fact that we cannot do this alone. A lovely reminder for the good days and the muddly ones 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    June 12, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Dear sister, I have the same thing – I can’t even stand myself when I’m like this. It was diagnosed as PMDD. My doc put me on progesterone and low dose naltrexone and I feel like a completely different person. If you have a Napro technology physician in your area he/she would know about this protocol. May His mercies flow through you and provide relief so you can fully enjoy your family and they can fully enjoy you!!

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