Reflection – 31st March
One of the joys of using a Catholic edition of the Bible, as opposed to the more readily available Protestant version, is that it will contain the full, ancient, Canon of Scripture: that is, is will have all the books of the Bible used by the Church of the first centuries. Although, or perhaps because, these ‘apocryphal books were written at a comparatively late date is Old Testament times (though many contain much older material), they often betray a range of influences drawn from cultures around Judea, although that can also be true of much earlier books.
In today’s Morning Prayer, the Old Testament canticle is taken from one such work, the Book of Tobit. Although comparatively little-known, it is a book full of wisdom and encouragement. As the extract used this morning makes clear, even in the most testing of circumstances we remain in the hands of God. We, as mere mortals, cannot see the whole picture, merely a little part of it – and that in a partial and confused way. God, on the other hand, sees the whole picture and not only sees it but, despite appearances, remains fully in control of it.
In times such as these, it can be hard for us to see the goodness of God. Yet we should recall that, even in times when we rejoice in the good that God is providing, there remain many in the world who are suffering whilst we have cause to rejoice. Yet God is still ‘in charge’ of the situation! It can be hard to trust in God when things seem piled up against us and we are suffering greatly. I have no doubt, reading the Gospels, that Jesus himself understood this temptation, both in the Garden and on his way to meet his death! The fact that he has experienced the pain and loss of control that our society is experiencing provides us with the knowledge that God himself walks with us along what is, even for him, a familiar path.
In spite of all the sadness, despair and trouble of these days, as Christians we remember that God is in control, the God who reigns is with us and nothing in life or death, as the Apostle Paul reminds, can separate us from the love of God. As we go through these dark days in this strangest of Passiontides, let us do our utmost to keep this fact before us, remaining firm in that love which has conquered all enemies, and which upholds us for ever.