What tribe are you from?

In the Old Testament there were twelve tribes with direct lineage to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Lineage was very important to the ancient Hebrews as it was a way of immediate identification through affiliation of one’s ancestral tribe. This thinking continued through the more modern era of the New Testament where Saint Joseph is a descendant from the line of David.

The twelve tribes given to the Hebrew culture by Yahweh were: Asher, Benjamin, Dan, Gad, Issachar, Joseph, Judah, Levi, Naphtali, Reuben, Simeon, Zebulun. Before Jacob died (patriarch, Genesis 25:19-26), he prophetically foretold the destiny of each of his sons and the role each one would assume for millennia. Yahweh had His hand on His chosen people from the beginning. Jacob’s blessing was for each of his sons and for the specific charism they would exhibit for the Jewish people and the progeny of the race. The twelve tribes are mentioned in the gospel narrative.

Each tribe had a specific gift or duty in Hebrew culture that was important for self- governance, cultural advancement, administration and function. There were the Levites from the tribe of Levi that were the priestly class and so forth. Hundreds of thousands of books throughout history have been written on the Jewish people where the twelve tribes are mentioned. During the 400 year Egyptian captivity of the Hebrew people, much of the lineage was lost through slavery to the pharaohs.

In the Old Testament, there is much to say about the Levites. Others are more obscure, just in the same way there is more information in the New Testament around Peter, James, John, and Paul than Nathaniel and Bartholomew. But one tribe lives in near obscurity except for a verse from the Book of I Chronicles 12:32—The Tribe of Issachar. It says, “Of Issachar men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, two hundred chiefs, and all their kinsmen under their command.”  

Issachar was one of the smallest tribes, it was the most spiritually, intellectually, and historically sensitive to what was happening in that era, and King David surrounded himself around the tribe of Issachar because they understood the times in which they lived. David was a king specifically given the throne by Yahweh when it was said, “And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king; of whom he testified and said, I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will” (Acts 13:22).   There is no allegory or metaphor here. Yahweh specifically anointed David as King because he would do the will of God.

So here is King David being placed on the throne of Israel through a special anointing by Yahweh, and David is seeking guidance from this small obscure group of people that has similar characteristics of believers throughout the ages. Jesus said the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. There are those who talk philosophy about the faith, and there are those who do. Prayer and work (ora et labora) was the motto of Saint Benedict and monastic orders.

Today, the modern day version of the tribe of Issachar walk in our midst in relative obscurity as they have done for thousands of years. Yet, these faithful people are the very glue of society. Remove these people from us and the world would descend into chaos in a fortnight. They are not the high and mighty in lofty positions, but the faithful army of God walking the streets this very day. They are the people in Eucharistic Adoration praying for the welfare of the country, serving the poor selflessly, bringing communion to the sick, teaching, fasting, doing corporal works of mercy often on a daily basis, taking people into their homes, tithing and praying in secret, and so on.

Many in this group are aware of the coming Warning and Miracle of Garabandal, and they journey and make pilgrimages to Marian shrines asking for grace and for the intercession of the Blessed Mother for intentions of loved ones who have lost their way. They are in prayer cenacles of all kinds, they have introduced the writings of Saint Faustina and the wisdom of Divine Mercy to their parishes, and as a group they are fighting the tide of filth in our culture by trying to provide an alternative according to Scriptural principles.

This group reads the lives of the saints for inspiration and they do a host of unknown things no one sees, but the Lord. They are God’s chosen people – the remnant. Fidelity and obedience to God’s law is their main focus. This group is the modern day version of the Tribe of Issachar and they know the signs of the times because they hear God’s voice and obey it — and with that come wisdom and guidance.

So this poses a question. Which tribe are you from?

Jesus, I Trust In You

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