I’m reading through the Book of Tobit, and today’s lesson is safety. The blind old man Tobit wants to send his son to collect money he had deposited with his brother. The journey will be dangerous: two days over uncertain roads in a foreign country. The boy Tobias goes out of his house (“it’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door…”) to find a guide, and there facing him is the angel Rafael, who offers to guide him on the journey. Tobias doesn’t know the man is an angel, and he invites him in to speak with his father. Tobit verifies his credentials, and the angel Rafael assures him: “Do not fear. I know all the routes. I have often traveled to Media and crossed know well the mountains and all its roads. In good health we will leave you, and in good health we will return to you, for the way is safe.”
And so the boy prepares to set out with his angel, but Tobias’ mother began to weep. “It’s too dangerous,” she cries out. “Our son will not be safe!” But her husband calms her: “Do not worry! Our son will leave in good health and come back to us in good health. Do not worry, for a good angel will go with him.” And the chapter concludes with these words: “Then she stopped weeping.” The woman naturally fears for her son, and errs on the side of “safety.” But the man reassures his wife. This is a trip our son must make, but he does not make it alone. God’s angel goes with him, for we have prayed and kept God’s commandments. Every word of Scripture instructs us in some good truth. Chapter 5 of the Book of Tobit teaches us that those who stay close to God have nothing to fear. A Guardian Angel protects and guides every step of our way.
There are signs all over San Francisco telling us to “stay home.” The secular media constantly tell us that life outside our bubbles is too dangerous. “Don’t move, or you might get hurt!” But the Bible tells us to go outside of ourselves, to engage the bold adventure of “The Way,” to trust that God sends His angel ahead of us. Some He calls even to throw their lives away for love of Christ (martyrs are the most compelling witnesses of our faith).
Life in Christ is a journey. The mothers among us help keep us safe, but the fathers among us call us to adventure. It is precisely the complementarity of male and female, the “binary” nature of the human person, that the regnant ideology denies. We, especially we men, must firmly insist on the truth that “God made them male and female,” and that the final good of the human person is found in the natural balance of the sexes.