The Story of Raphael
The Story of Raphael, from the book of Tobit
Tobit was a man of very good works.
He married Anna and had a son, Tobias.
Tobit was captured and taken to Ninevah. It was a time of suffering and many of his friends were killed and left outside the city wall. Tobit went out to bury them. The King who was responsible for the deaths heard about it and was angry - so searched for Tobit. Tobit left in fear. His property was confiscated. When the King died, Tobit returned to Ninevah to his property. He sat down in his house with Anna and Tobias, to celebrate. Before they began, Tobit heard of another friend being murdered and left outside the city wall. Tobit went out to bury him - his neighbours laughed at him. According to the laws of that time, a person was unclean after burying a body, so Tobit had to sleep outside the city wall that night. Tobit was very unhappy and prayed that he would die.
Meanwhile, in Media, lived Sarah, a relative of Tobit’s family. She had married seven times and her husbands had died on their wedding night. She wanted to die, but was an only child and knew her parents would be very sad. She prayed.
God heard the prayers of Tobit and Sarah and sent Raphael to heal them.
Tobit remembered he had left money in Media with a relative for Tobias and his mother, when times had been particularly bad in the past. He sent for Tobias and spoke to him at great length. He told him how to live a good life, as this was more important than anything in the world. Then he instructed Tobias to find a friend to travel with and go to fetch the silver. Tobit promised he would pay the companion wages. Tobias found Raphael, but he did not know he was an angel. Raphael pretended to be Azarius, a relative. So they set off together until they came to the River Tigris. Tobias went to wash and a large fish jumped out of the water and was going to eat him. Raphael told Tobias to catch the fish and take out its heart, liver and gall. Tobias did this, then they roasted and ate the fish.
Azarius (Raphael) then told Tobias about Sarah and how he should marry her. Tobias was afraid, but Azarius (Raphael) explained that if he put ashes or incense on the fish’s heart and liver, the resulting smoke would cure her. Tobias did this; he and Sarah prayed together.
She was cured and the marriage feast lasted fourteen days.
Meanwhile, Tobit and Anna were very worried. They did not know why Tobias was away for so long. Anna watched out for Tobias and his friend, convinced they were dead. One morning she saw them in the distance and called for her blind husband to come and greet them. Tobit and Anna were overjoyed. Azarius (Raphael) then told Tobias to make a paste from the fish’s gall and put it on Tobit’s eyes. He did so and Tobit was healed.
Tobias and Tobit then discussed the wage they should give Azarius for being a good companion. Tobias felt he should receive half of the money he had brought back, because he had cured Sarah and Tobit. Azarius took them aside privately and revealed to them that he was the Angel Raphael. He told them not to be afraid, but to praise God forever. Then he left them, instructing that the story be written down in a book.
This is a story of Journey, Healing and Revelation.
In the Bible it says Sarah was possessed by a demon – we tend to say she was someone with lots of bad luck!!!!
We think it’s enough for the younger children to concentrate on healing using the fish; the Juniors could look at the fuller story, understanding more about journey and revelation.
There is a large framed print of Raphael and Tobias in the main administration corridor; the original hangs in the National Gallery.
The school celebrates the Feast of St Raphael on September 29th, the Feast of the angels Michael, Raphael and Gabriel.