My Neighbour: The Magi and the Dog

Posted: January 6, 2018 by Ty in My Neighbour, Spirituality
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And Tobias went forward, and the dog followed him, and he lodged the first night by the river of Tigris.

-Book of Tobit 6:1 (Douay-Rheims Bible)


Yes, it is a line from the Bible. Why the dog went? Is it some grand theological mystery I am going to unpack for you now? No. Let’s be real, the family goes adventuring the dog goes with. And for my friends in the Protestant version of Christianities you will not find this in your 66 books. It is one of the Apocryphya-Deutero-Canonical. That essentially means extra books, it is found in the Roman Catholic 72 books. See the Bible is not as closed and finite as many believe, it is a varied collection dependent on the Christianity you journey through—Orthodox, Protestants, Catholic, Coptic, Gnostic, etc… each has their own canonical collection.

And within are gems that prove fundamentalist-literalism is truly a newer last 100ish years invention that was never intended to be the lens to read scripture through.  Literalism is taking the black and white word on the page for what it means. By extension that is saying to someone watch Shakespeare literally without the form that shapes the tragedies or Agatha Christie without using your reason and deduction skills to solve the mystery. It removes the humanity from the spiritual experience which leaves ones’ bones dry and dusty on the plains missing the connecting with the Holy Mystery.

Tobit is a story. Full stop. Enter it like you would a short story in your English class from school. Love the characters, read it, analyze it if you want, or just see the different themes that emerge. Themes of the archetype of blindness, oppression, character assassination, the hero’s journey with a needed companion, love and redemption. Read a version of Tobit hear online:

Take time now to read it slower over. A chapter a day through breath-contemplative Lectio Divina.

Read/hear each chapter 3 times. Before you begin to ensure you are comfortable, that there is a journal near by. Whether you journal through colour, drawing, words or all the above, ensure your hands move to answer the questions that emerge from your spiritual heart. For within Tobit we can discover the answers to the question Who is my neighbour?

Light a candle. Sit comfortably. Allow your breathing to slow. Feel yourself traverse time in the way only a story can allow you too. Travel back to the time of Assyrian occupation of Israel, in the ancient town of Nineveh.

First reading: As you hear the chapter the first time, let the words roll through your mind. What word or phrase leaps out upon this reading? Spend time with this phrase? What emotions does it bring forward for you? Sit with that emotion.

Second Reading: As you hear the chapter the second time, let the words roll through your mind. What word or phrase leaps out upon this reading? Spend time focusing on this word/phrase. What memory of your past does it bring forward? Live into the memory for this is part of your own’s hero journey.

Third reading: Upon the third reading spend time with the emotion and memory that have emerged before. Where do these guide you, what revelation on your own journey is opened.

When you are ready, bring your breathing back to normal, feel yourself come back to where you are in space and time.

At the end of the 14-day exploration, reflect back on the images and words in your journaling. Take time to reflect on them.

What has been revealed to you about the journey of being a neighbour in your community?

  1. Lost gospels or apocryphal writings | Bijbelvorser = Bible Researcher says:

    […] My Neighbour: The Magi and the Dog […]

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