Tobias Healing the Blindness-of his Father - by ASSERETO, Gioachino - from Musée des Beaux-Arts, Marseille . . . .
Aided by the Archangel Raphael, Tobias Heals the Blindness-of his Father, after his Chastisement by God.
"Non enim delectaris in perditionibus nostris"
For Thou art not Delighted-in our being Lost - Job 3:22
"And I will give My Fear, in their Heart; that they may not Revolt-from Me" - Jeremiah 32:40. The Lord says that He 'Infuses' His Fear, into our Hearts, in-order-that He may 'Enable' us to Triumph-over our Passion-for Earthly Pleasures, for which, Ungrateful that we are, we have Left Him. And when Sinners have Left Him, how does He make them Look-into themselves, and 'Recover' His Grace? By Putting-on the Appearance-of Anger, and Chastising them in this Life: "In Thy Anger, Thou shalt Break the People, in-Pieces" - Psalm 55:8. Another Version, according-to Saint Augustine, has: "In Thy Wrath, Thou shalt Conduct the People". The Saint 'Inquiring', What is the Meaning-of His 'Conducting' the People, in His Wrath? He then 'Replies': "Thou, O Lord, Fillest us with Tribulations, in-order-that, being thus Afflicted, we may Abandon our Sins, and Return-to Thee" - (in Psalm 55:13).
When the Mother, Wishes-to 'Wean' her Infant, how does she Proceed? She puts Gall upon her Breast. Thus the Lord endeavors-to 'Draw' our Souls to Himself, and 'Wean' them from the Pleasures-of this Earth, which make them Live-in Forgetfulness-of their Eternal (∞) Salvation; He Fills-with Bitterness, all their Pleasures, Pomps, and Possessions, in-order-that, not finding Peace in those things, they may Turn-to God, Who alone, can Satisfy them. "In their Affliction, they will Rise Early to Me" - Hosea 6:1. God says within Himself: "If I Allow those Sinners to-Enjoy their Pleasures undisturbed, they will Remain-in the Sleep-of Sin: they must be Afflicted, in-order-that, Recovering-from their Lethargy, they may Return-to Me". When they shall be in Tribulation they will say: "Come, let us Return-to the Lord, for He hath Taken us, and He will Heal us; He will Strike and He will Cure us". What shall become-of us, say those Sinners, as they enter-into themselves, if we do not Turn-from Our Evil Courses? God will not be 'Appeased', and will, with Justice, Continue-to Punish us; come on, let us Retrace our steps; for He will Cure us, and if He has Afflicted us just now, He will upon our Return, Think-of Consoling us with His Mercy.
"In the Day-of my Trouble, I sought God, . . . and I was not Deceived" - Psalm 77:3, because He 'Raised' me up. For this Reason, does the Prophet 'Thank' the Lord, that He hath Humbled him, after his Sin; because he was thus 'Taught' to-Observe the Divine Laws: "It is Good for me, that Thou hast Humbled me, that I may Learn Thy Justifications" - Psalm 118:71. "Tribulation is for the Sinner, at-once, a Punishment and a Grace", says Saint Augustine - (in Psalm 38). It is a Punishment, inasmuch-as it has been Drawn-down upon him by his Sins; but it is a Grace, and an Important Grace, inasmuch-as it may 'Ward' Eternal (∞) Destruction from him; and is an Assurance-that God means-to 'Deal' Mercifully with him, if he Look-into himself, and 'Receive' with-Thankfulness, that Tribulation which has-Opened his Eyes to his Miserable Condition, and 'Invites' him to-'Return' to- God. Let us then be-Converted, my Brethren, and we shall 'Escape'-from our Several Chastisements: "Why should he, who accepts Chastisement as a Grace, be Afraid after Receiving it?" says Saint Augustine. He who Turns-to God, Smarting-from the Scourge, has no-longer anything to-Fear, because God Scourges only, in-order-that we may Return-to Him; and this End, once Obtained, the Lord will Scourge us no-more.
Saint Bernard says that it is Impossible, to Pass-from the Pleasures of the Earth, to those-of Paradise: "It is Difficult, even Impossible, for anyone to-enjoy Present and Future Goods, to Pass-from Delights to Delights". Therefore does the Lord say, "Envy not the Man who Prospereth in his Way, the Man who doth Unjust Things" - Psalm 36:7. "Does he Prosper?" says Saint Augustine; "Ay, but 'in his own way'; And do you Suffer? You do, but it is in the Way of God". You who Walk-before God, are in Tribulation, but he, Evil as-is his Way, 'Prospers'. Mark now, what the Saint says in-conclusion: "He has Prosperity in this Life, he shall be Miserable, in the Next; you have Tribulation in this Life, you shall be Happy, in the Next" - (in Psalm 36). Be Glad, therefore, O Sinners! and 'Thank' God when He Punishes you in this Life, and takes Vengeance-of your Sins; because you may Know-thereby, that He means to-Treat you with Mercy in the Next. "Thou wast a Merciful God to them, and taking Vengeance-on all their Inventions" - Psalm 98:8. The Lord, when He Chastises us, has not Chastisement so-much in-view, as our Conversion. God said to Nebuchadnezzar: "Thou shalt eat Grass like an Ox, and Seven Times shall Pass-over thee, till thou know that the Most High Ruleth in the Kingdom of Men" - Daniel 4:29. For Seven (7) Years, Nebuchadnezzar, shalt thou be Compelled-to Feed-upon Grass, like a Beast, in-order-that thou mayest Know, I am the Lord; that it is I Who give-Kingdoms, and Take-them away; and that thou mayest thus be Cured-of thy Pride. And in fact, this Judgment did-Cause the Haughty King to Enter-into himself, and Change; so that, after having been Restored-to his former condition, he said: "Therefore I, Nebuchadnezzar, do now Praise and Magnify the King of Heaven" - Daniel 4:34. And God gave him back his Kingdom. "He Willingly changed his Sentence", says Saint Jerome, "because He saw his Works Changed" (cf Jonah 3:10).
Unhappy we, says the same Saint, when God does not Punish us, in this Life! It is a Sign that He 'Means' us for Eternal (∞) Chastisements. What do we conclude, he Continues, when the Surgeon sees the Flesh about-to Mortify, and does not 'Cut' it away? We conclude-that he 'Abandons' the Patient to-Death? God 'Spares' the Sinner, in this Life, says Saint Gregory, only to Chastise him, in the Next. Woe to those Sinners, to-whom God has Ceased to-Speak, and Appears not to be in-Anger. "I will Cease, and be Angry no-more". The Lord then goes-on to say: "Because thou hast not Remembered the Days-of thy Youth, but hast Provoked me in all these things: . . . thou shalt know that I am the Lord, that thou mayest Remember, and be Confounded" - Ezekiel 16:43, 62-63. A Day will-Come, He says, Ungrateful Sinner, when you shall Know-what I am; then shall you 'Remember' the Graces I have 'Given' you, and 'See' with Confusion, your Black Ingratitude.
Woe-to the Sinner, who Goes-on in his Evil Life, and whom God, in His Vengeance, Suffers-to 'Accomplish' his Perverse Desires, according to what is said by the Prophet: "Israel hearkened-not to Me, so I let them go according to the Desires-of their Heart" - Psalm 80:12-13. It is a 'Sign', that the Lord Wishes-to Reward them on this Earth, for whatever 'Little' Good they may have done, and 'Reserves' the Chastisement-of their Sins, for Eternity (∞). Speaking-of the Sinner whom He 'Treats' thus, in this Life, the Lord says: "Let us have Pity on the Wicked, but he will not Learn Justice, . . . and he shall not see the Glory of the Lord" - Isaiah 26:10. Thus does the Poor Sinner, Hasten-on to his Ruin, because seeing himself Prosperous, he Deceives himself into the Expectation-that as God is 'Dealing' Mercifully with him now, He will Continue-to do the same, and by this Delusion, he will be Led-to Live-on in his Sins. But, will the Lord be Always, thus Merciful to-him? No!!, the Day-of Punishment will Come at-length, when he shall be Excluded-from Paradise, and Flung-into the Dungeon-of-the-Rebels: "And he shall not see the Glory-of the Lord". "Let us have Pity-on the Wicked; far from me be this Mercy", says Saint Jerome. Lord, he says, Extend not to me, this Dreadful Pity; if I have Offended Thee, let me be Chastised for it, in this-Life; because if Thou dost not Chastise me here, in this-Life, I shall have to be Chastised in the Other World, for all Eternity (∞). For this Reason, did Saint Augustine say: "Lord, here 'Cut', here 'Burn', that you may 'Spare', during Eternity". Chastise me here, O God, and do not 'Spare' me Now, in-order-that I may be-Spared, the Punishment-of Hell. When the Surgeon 'Cuts' the Imposthume-of the Patient, it is a Sign that he Means-to have him Healed. Saint Augustine says: "It is most Merciful-of the Lord, not to-Suffer Iniquity to-Pass, Unpunished". The Lord Deals very Mercifully with the Sinner, when by Chastisement, He makes him enter-into himself in this-Life. Hence, Job 'Besought' the Lord so-earnestly to Afflict him. "And that this may be my Comfort, that Afflicting me with Sorrow, He Spare-not" - Job 6:10.
Jonah slept-in the Ship, when he was Flying-from the Lord; but God, seeing that the Wretched Man was on the Brink-of Temporal and Eternal (∞) Death, caused him to be Warned-of the Tempest: "Why art thou Fast Asleep? Rise up, Call upon thy God" - Jonah 1:6. God, my Brethren, now Warns ye in like-Manner. You have been in the State-of-Sin, Deprived-of Sanctifying Grace, the Chastisement has-Come, and that Chastisement is the Voice-of-God, saying to you, "Why are you Fast Asleep? Rise and Call-upon your God". Awake, Sinner! do not Live-on, Forgetful-of your Soul, and of God.
Open your Eyes, and see how you Stand-upon the Verge-of-Hell, where so-many Wretches are now Bewailing Sins, less- Grievous than yours, and are you Asleep? Have you no Thought-of Confession? No Thought-of Rescuing yourself from Eternal (∞) Death? Rise, Call-upon your God. Up-from that Infernal Pit, into which you have Fallen; Pray to God to Pardon you; Beg-of Him this at-least, if you are not at once Resolved-to Change your Life, that He will-Give you Light, and make you see the Wretched State in-which you Stand. Learn how to Profit by the Warning which the Lord 'Vouchsafes' you. Jeremiah First (1st) sees a Rod. I see a Rod Watching; he Next sees a Boiling Caldron: "I see a Boiling Caldron" - Jeremiah 1:11,13. Saint Ambrose, in Speaking-of this Passage, explains it thus: He who is not Corrected-by the Rod, shall be Thrown into the Caldron, there to-Burn. He whom the Temporal Chastisement Fails-to Convert, shall be Sent-to Burn Eternally (∞) in Hell-fire. Sinful Brother, Listen-to God, Who 'Addresses' Himself to your Heart, by this Chastisement, and Calls-on you, to do Penance. Tell me, what Answer do you make Him?
The Prodigal Son, after having left his Father, thought no-more upon him, whilst he continued to-Live amid Delights; but when he saw himself Reduced-to that State-of-Misery, Described-in the Gospel; Poor, Deserted, Obliged-to Tend Swine, and not allowed-to Fill himself with the Food, wherewith the Swine were-Filled; then he came-to himself, and said: "How many Hired Servants in my Father's House, abound-with Bread, and I here Perish with Hunger" - Luke 15:17. "I will Arise and go to my Father" - Luke 15:18. And so he did, and was Lovingly Received-by his Father. Brother, you have to do in like manner. You see the Unhappy Life, you have hitherto led, by Living away-from God; a Life full-of Thorns and Bitterness; a Life which could not be otherwise, as being without God, Who Alone can 'Give' Content. You see how many Servants-of God, who Love Him, Lead a Happy Life, and Enjoy Continual Peace, the Peace-of-God, which, as the Apostle says, 'Surpasses' all the Pleasures-of the Senses. "The Peace of God, which Surpasseth all Understanding" - Philippians 4:7. And what are you doing? Do you not feel that you Suffer a Hell in this Life? do you not know that you shall Suffer One, in the Next. Take Courage, say with the Prodigal: "I will Arise and Go-to my Father". I will Arise-from this Sleep-of-Death, this State-of-Damnation, and Return-to God. It is True, that I have sufficiently Outraged Him by Leaving Him, so-much against His Desire, but He is still my Father. "I will Arise and Go-to my Father". And when you shall Go-to that Father, what shall you Say-to Him? Say what the Prodigal said to his Father: "Father, I have Sinned against Heaven and before Thee. I am not now Worthy to be called Thy son" - Luke 15:18,19. Father, I Acknowledge my Error, I have done Ill to-Leave Thee, Who have so-much Loved me; I see now that I am no-longer Worthy to be-Called Thy Son; Receive me, at-least as Thy Servant; Restore-me, at-least to Thy Grace, and then Chastise me as Thou Pleasest.
Oh, Happy you, if you 'Say' and 'Do' thus! the same will-Happen you, which Befell the Prodigal Son. The Father, when he saw his Son 'Retracing' his steps, and Perceived-that he had Humbled himself for his Fault, not only did not 'Drive' him off ----- not only 'Received' him into his House, but Embraced and Kissed him, as his Son. "And running-to him, fell-upon his Neck and Kissed him" - Luke 15:20. He then 'Clothed' him with a Precious Garment, which 'Represents' the Robe-of-Grace: "Bring-forth Quickly the First Robe, and put it on him" - Luke 15:22. And he, moreover, makes a Great Feast, in the House, to-Commemorate the Recovery-of his Son, whom he looked-upon as Lost and Dead: "Let us Eat and make Merry, because this My Son was Dead, and is Come-to-Life again; was Lost, and is Found" - Luke 15:23,24.
Let us be Joyful, my Brethren; it is True that God appears-to be in-Wrath, but He is still our Father; let us 'Retrace' our steps in-Penance, and He will be-Appeased and 'Spare' us. Behold Mary our Mother, Praying for us on the one-hand, and on the other, 'Towards' us, saying, "In me is all Hope of Life and of Virtue; . . . come over to me All" - Ecclesiasticus 24:25,26. My Children, that Mother of-Mercy says to us, my Poor Afflicted Children, have Recourse to-me, and in-me, you shall Find all Hope; my Son 'Denies' me Nothing. You were Dead by Sin; Come to-me, Find-me, and you shall Find Life ----- the Life-of Divine Grace, which I shall Recover-for you, by My Intercession.