Grace to you!
I use the example of Saint Thomas the apostle, to share some thoughts on the blessing of not seeing with the physical eyes before one believes in God.
Thomas the apostle is a unique character in the Bible. Bold. Courageous. Never shy to say his mind.
His boldness and audacity in the face of challenges were evident when he told his fellow apostles, "Let's go and die with him [Jesus]" (Jn 11:16). This was in reference to the Lord, who was going to Bethany at the death of Lazarus amidst threats to his life.
Scripture shows Thomas as a man with a high sense of curiosity, a critical thinker who asks the right questions and sometimes, too many questions. He is the one who asked the Lord; “We do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” (Jn 14:5) To which the Lord gave the great teaching about being the way, the truth and the life (Jn 14:6-7).
Thomas is like a typical critical thinker. He is like many who want proofs, physical proofs before they can believe or commit to something. However, as we know, many times, our weaknesses arise from our areas of strength. For instance, when we love to give alms, our greatest temptations will come around issues or events related to almsgiving. It could be we budgeted to use a particular investment to help the poor and that investment sank and we lost money.
Thomas' strengths were occasions of weakness too. When the Lord appeared to the apostles after the resurrection, the critical minded Thomas was doubtful. “I want to see him, see the wounds and put my fingers in those wounds,” (Jn 20:25) he insisted, as if to suggest the rest of the apostles were hallucinating. He was looking for empirical proof as a precondition for his faith in the Risen Lord.
He forgot that if our faith is built on empirical proof, it is no longer faith, but physical science. It loses the core identity of transcendence. God, though immanent, is transcendent. Faith is reasonable and as well as goes beyond empirical verifiability.
The merciful and kind Jesus appeared to Thomas and rebuked his doubt. He then gave us a saying we should rely on, “Blessed are those who have not seen but believe” (Jn 20:29). Thomas’ faith thereafter, became so strong that he was the first among the apostles to emphatically call Jesus, “My Lord and my God” (Jn 20:28).
Following the Lord is like resting on the palms of a mom or a dad. That child is secure, because mom or dad is in charge. We need the childlike disposition, which is more trusting than skeptical. Faith helps us to resign to the will of our Lord and God.
I pray that God will give us the grace to constantly believe and not seek signs before we believe. For those dealing with doubt, ask Saint Thomas the apostle, who has been there before, to be your special friend and companion.
Saint Thomas the Apostle, pray for us. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[July 3: Feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle: Eph 2:19-22; Jn 20:24-29]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.