“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.” ~ Bertrand Russell
This month’s 1st Saturday celebration carries with it special significance in that the Catholic Church also recognizes the Feast Day of Saint Thomas the Apostle. Naturally whenever we think of Thomas, our thoughts revert to his legendary moment of doubt upon hearing of his friend Jesus’ shocking resurrection from the dead. In a world so drenched in secularism, you know it’s an epic spiritual moment when out of it is born an expression that has deeply permeated our vernacular, with the term “Doubting Thomas” serving as the nickname of choice for the skeptics in our midst.
But remembering Saint Thomas merely for this moment is akin to remembering Bill Buckner only for that fateful ground-ball that slowly trickled through his legs on a late September evening in 1986, allowing the New York Mets to swipe the World Series from his Boston Red Sox two nights later, while ignoring his 2,700+ career hits and 1,200+ RBIs over his storied 22 year career. Or judging the highly decorated General Alexander Haig for his Napoleonic “I’m in charge” moment on the heels of the assassination attempt of then-President Ronald Reagan. General Haig was the United States Secretary of State under President Reagan and the White House Chief of Staff under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. Prior to that, he retired as a general from the United States Army, having been Supreme Allied Commander of Europe after serving as the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army. Yet despite it all, he is instead immortalized for those 3 words, uttered amidst the pandemonium and chaos of an attempt on the life of a sitting president. To quote author Cassandra Clare, “whoever said the world was fair?”
Saint Thomas would bring the saving message of the very Man he once wrote off for crucified to the people of India, as was his missionary vocation. Today there are well over 28 million Christians in India, all the result of Saint Thomas’ seminal teachings. As the great Priests of our church donned their red vestments today, we’re also reminded that the blood of the Martyrs, of which Saint Thomas was one, is truly the seed of the faith.
In today’s 1st Reading (Ephesians 2:19-22), Saint Paul reminds us that we are no longer merely strangers or sojourners on the proverbial road-to-nowhere. By virtue of the life and death of Jesus, we are now “fellow citizens with the holy ones” and “members of the household of God,” a foundation that is squarely built upon the Apostles ~ like Thomas ~ and the prophets, with Jesus as the capstone. Or as Saint Thomas so appropriately and joyfully exclaimed upon placing his fingers in Christ’s nail marks, Jesus is “our Lord and our God.”
So what are your doubts as they relate to Jesus and what he can do for you? Do you question whether or not he will truly forgive you by way of the grace he pours out in the Sacrament of Reconciliation? Are you skeptical about His true presence in the Eucharist, a gift offered freely to all who come to Him seeking to know Him more intimately and profoundly? Given the current state of our country and the world for that matter, perhaps you even wonder if he hasn’t altogether abandoned his children?
Doubt of course leads only to fear and anxiety, two faith cripplers that have no rational place in the life of a vibrant Catholic. Satan has often been called the Great Accuser, the Great Deceiver....a liar, plain and simple. But I would add one more moniker to his list of illicit and ignominious titles. He is in fact the “Great Distractor.” How many times have we allowed him to distract us, play on our insecurities or our lack of fortitude and perseverance, in order to riddle our souls with doubt? As true children of God, those who know how the greatest story ever told ends (Matthew 16:18) what are we afraid of? Ours is the God who made the land, air and sea. To doubt him, to think for instance that extreme racial discord or even a pandemic is an insurmountable hurdle, is the mindset of someone who has lost sight of the eternal landscape. Doubt, plain and simple, is for the faithless.
Put together a list of all your doubts, all your concerns, all the things that you’ve come to believe that God cannot do for you or get you through. After compiling and writIng out this list, take a lighted match to the sheet of paper and officially rid yourself of all unfounded skepticism in the God who can do anything.
My prayer for all of us today is that we will wisely come to doubt our doubts long before we ever doubt our faith, a faith rooted in Jesus, He who is and forever remains, unconquerable.
For more on the 1st Saturday Devotion, please revisit the link below: