2/54.2 Our faith has to be operative: acts of faith, confidential relationship with Our Lord. Apostolate.
Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, Peace be with you. Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.’
Thomas’s reply is an act of faith, of adoration and of self-surrender without limits: My Lord and my God. These five words of his are inexhaustible in their significance. His faith springs not so much from the evidence of seeing Jesus as from an immense sorrow. It isn’t so much the proof, as his love, that leads him to adoration and to renewing his apostolate. Tradition tells us that the Apostle Thomas died a martyr for his faith in Our Lord. He spent his life in His service.
These preliminary doubts of Thomas have served to confirm the faith of those who were to believe in Him later on. What conclusion, dear brethren, do you come to?, asks St Gregory the Great. Surely it was not by chance that this chosen disciple was missing in the first place? Or that on his return he heard, that hearing he doubted, that doubting he touched, and that touching he believed? It was by divine dispensation and not by chance that things so fell out. God’s mercy worked wonderfully, for when that doubting disciple touched his Master’s wounded flesh he cured the wound of our disbelief... So this doubting disciple, who actually touched, became a witness to the reality of the resurrection.
If our faith is firm, then that of many others will be supported by it. It is essential that our faith in Jesus Christ increases every day, that we learn to look upon happenings and persons as He looks on them, that our activity in the middle of the world be animated by Jesus’ doctrine. But, at times, we too find ourselves lacking in faith like the Apostle Thomas. We have need of greater confidence in Our Lord in the face of difficulties in the apostolate, of events that we don’t know how to interpret from the supernatural point of view, in times of darkness that God permits so that we may grow in other virtues.
The virtue of faith is one that gives us the true dimension of events and permits us to form a correct judgement about everything. Only by the light of faith and by meditation on the word of God can one always and everywhere recognize God in whom ‘we live and move and have our being’ (Acts 17:28), seek His will in every event, see Christ in everyone whether he be a relative or a stranger, and make correct judgements about the true meaning and value of temporal things both in themselves and in their relation to man’s final goal.
Let us meditate on the scripture. Let us take another look at the Master. You too may find yourself now hearing his gentle reproach to Thomas: ‘Let me have your finger; see, here are my hands. Let me have your hand; put it into my side. Cease your doubting, and believe’ (John 20:27); and, with the Apostle, a sincere cry of contrition will rise from your soul: ‘My Lord and my God’ (John 20:28). I acknowledge you once and for all as the Master. From now on, with your help, I shall always treasure your teachings and I shall try to follow them loyally.
My Lord and my God! These words have served as an aspiration for many Christians, and as an act of faith in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, when passing in front of a tabernacle or at the Consecration of the Mass. They can also help us to deepen our faith and our love for the risen Christ, really present in the Sacred Host.