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Peace, Not Doubt
Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle
Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But Thomas said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, help me to place myself into this Gospel scene and learn from Thomas, whose feast day it is.
- One of the Twelve: Doubting Thomas was “one of the twelve,” as was Judas the betrayer, Peter who denied Christ, and the two brothers who coveted seats at the right and left of Jesus in his kingdom. Jesus’s closest companions were very flawed humans. Praise God, because we, too, doubt, betray, deny and covet at times. When we fall, if we turn to Jesus, we will realize that we can experience the same patient, gentle, reassuring Jesus that Thomas did.
- Unbelief: Sons and daughters of God who encounter him regularly in their prayer, through the sacraments, and experientially in life can’t help but proclaim, “We have seen the Lord.” Hearts overflow with love expressed as evangelical enthusiasm. Yet, many people resist. Like Thomas, they say, “I will not believe.” There’s nothing sadder. True love requires, however, that we don’t ostracize unbelievers. On the contrary, we continue to love them and pray for them until Jesus, himself, draws from them their own proclamation, “My Lord and my God.”
- Blind Faith: This story of Thomas’s doubt ended with some truly consoling words from Jesus, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Since none of us have seen what the Apostles saw, yet we believe, we are “blessed.” The blessing Jesus alludes to is faith. “Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him. Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior aid of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth” (CCC 153).
Conversing with Christ: Lord, thank you for the great gift of faith. I know that the theological virtue of faith is infused by you into my soul everytime I ask for it. When I doubt you, as did Thomas, I know that I can expect to hear you encouraging me: “Peace be with you.”
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will make a sincere act of faith, hope, and charity.
For Further Reflection: There are many versions of Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity. Here is one:
Act of Faith
O my God, I firmly believe that you are one God in three divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I believe that your divine Son became Man, died for our sins, and that he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because you have revealed them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived.
Act of Hope
O my God, relying on your almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of your grace, and life everlasting through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.
Act of Charity
O my God, I love you above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because you are all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of you. I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured. Amen.
Written by Maribeth Harper.