It’s my patron saint’s day!
…well, not really, but that’s part of the joke. 🙂
See, when my husband and I were dating, he quickly realized that I didn’t just accept what he said at face value, if it sounded incredulous and utterly fantastic. So! Of course, he did it his best to make the most incredible statements so that he would keep me on my toes!
For instance! One time when we were dating, he casually name-dropped the Great Molasses Flood of Boston. I looked at him like he had snakes coming out of his ears. “You’re making that up,” I declared.
“There was no great Molasses Flood of Boston.”
“Just look it up!”
And so I did, and who would have known that such an event happened? (No, really, it did, Wikipedia even has an article!)
And so, my husband has teased me ever since that St. Thomas was my patron saint. He even took a picture of me at the Pantheon in Rome with my patron saint!
Of course, when you think about doubting Thomas, if you’re thinking about artwork, you’re probably not thinking about Pietro Paolo Bonzi’s work. The artwork that probably comes to mind is this famous one by Caravaggio…
It’s a morbid picture, with Jesus guiding St. Thomas’s hand to touch the wound on his side! Jesus has no halo, as Caravaggio wanted to emphasize the fact that Jesus wasn’t a mere heavenly visitor, but really and truly present there with St. Thomas and the rest of the disciples. Thus, Christ’s flesh seems to be moving with St. Thomas’s finger.
Not that St. Thomas actually touched Christ. The gospel of that story goes like this:
24Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he 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.” 26Now 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.” 27Then 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.” 28 Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Which, honestly, is a pretty incredible cry of faith. With the sight of the Lord, Thomas cries, “My Lord and my God!” And at that very moment, the whole course of his life changes. From then on, he chose to live for Christ… he even chose to die as a martyr for Christ!
Now, how many of us, when confronted with Christ’s real presence, think to ourselves, “My Lord and my God!” When we go to communion, in which we encounter the Real Presence of Christ, do we think to ourselves, “My Lord and my God!”
If not, then why not?
Are we also doubters?
If the answer is yes to any of those, then today is the day for you! For today, we celebrate St. Thomas’s feast day. Yes, he doubted and was skeptical that Christ truly could have risen. Yes, he made bold, public statements to declare his doubt. He even had the audacity to ask for a miracle!
And yet, here he is, a saint.
So, if you’re a doubter, then there is hope! And today is a perfect day to ask God to reveal Himself to you through prayer. The answer might not come quick, mind you… and God has a funny way of showing up precisely when you don’t feel ready for Him to show up in your life. But, pray anyway. Because that moment when you encounter Christ is worth it.
Just ask St. Thomas.
St. Thomas, pray for us!