Thursday 3rd July – Feast of St Thomas, Apostle
Reflection: John 20: 24-29
WHEN FAITH IS IN DOUBT
“To thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any men”
-Hamlet; William Shakespeare
One of the tragedies of our time is man’s increasing tendency towards self deception. When a man has been consistently untruthful to others, it follows that with time he will become untruthful to himself. A man is untruthful to himself will invariably be lacking in conviction and hence, cannot stand up for anything in life. Such readily betray themselves and their larger society. So, to ourselves, we must first be true!
Many over the years have been quick to utterly disapprove of Thomas’ disbelief of our Lord’s resurrection. However, there is a lesson we can all learn from this disciple, especially as Catholics. How much of the Church’s teaching do you doubt but openly pretend to uphold? Think of the Eucharist or the sacrament of Reconciliation; the place of Mary in our salvation history or the veneration Saints; purgatory or the use of contraceptives…the list is endless. Does faith entail professing or even defending what you don’t believe? That undoubtedly is hypocrisy and self-deception which only leads to but religious fanaticism.
Much as we can all have moments or areas of doubt about our faith, sincerity, as exemplified by Thomas demands that we admit these areas of doubt. They are not to be denied or suppressed neither must we allow them to drive us out of the Church. Such doubts are in themselves opportunities to seek clarification and deepen our understanding of the faith. Irrespective of our age or status we must never be so ashamed of our doubt or ignorance much as not to seek the needed help or clarification. The consequences of inaction could be grave. (Hosea 4:6).
Despite his doubt, Thomas abided with the fold and his commitment was rewarded by our Lord’s second apparition to his disciples. So great his faith later became that he defended it up to martyrdom. Beloved, if you too will persistently and sincerely ask God in prayer; ask elders in faith and devotedly study the Church’s writings on that grey area(s) in your faith, our faithful and just Lord will surely grant you an answer.
PRAYER: Dear Father, I believe in your love and your guidance of your Church. Please grant me a clearer understanding of You and Your mystical body- the Church. Amen.
KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 158– “faith seeks understanding.”It is intrinsic to faith that a believer desires to know better the One in whom he has put his faith, and to understand better what He has revealed; a more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by love….In the words of St Augustine, “I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe.”
HIDE A TREASURE:“Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Matthew 7: 7-8 RSV-CE
Readings for today: Ephesians 2: 19-22; Psalm 117: 1-2; John 20: 24-29