Blessed Are Those Who Doubt

BY BRENNA DAVIS | April 25, 2022
Sunday’s Readings

Blessed are those who believe without seeing, for I am not one of them. 

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in resurrection. I see resurrection daily, especially in nature: branches of trees, apparently dead after an endless Cleveland winter, spring back to life; new life, in the form of a tree, rises out of a dead stump; food scraps turn to soil in our compost pile. 

Blessed Are Those Who Doubt

That being said, I have great compassion for St. Thomas and his doubt in the gospel. Sweet Thomas, who could not believe in the resurrection until he saw it with his own eyes, is a model of a faith that asks questions— a healthy part of cultivating a robust faith. 

Can we really judge St. Thomas, then? He just saw Jesus suffer a painful death on the cross. There was no precedent for renewal after such a brutal end to a human life. I, too, have seen the crucifixion with my own eyes, in the news coming from Ukraine, the racial injustice that permeates our society, the recent IPCC report on climate change, in women treated as second-class citizens in the Church, the story of Melissa Lucio, an innocent woman on death row, scheduled to be executed next week, and…on and on and on. I, like Thomas, wonder how Jesus and the world can rise up anew with wounds this deep.

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.” I imagine Jesus saying this gently and lovingly. Believe, from its root word, means  “to set one’s heart on.” Jesus invites Thomas, and us, to set our heart on Christ’s mission and completely transform the orientation of our lives as a result. 

The gospel ends with these words, “But these are written that you may come to believe.” Our God of abundance is patient, and resurrection transformation takes time. I deeply desire the desire to believe without seeing, but in the meantime, I shakily put my hands into the tender wounds of the crucified world in front of my eyes, breathe deeply, and ask for the strength to not look away. To set my heart upon the resurrection I see happening all around me.

For Reflection: 

  • Where do I see or experience signs of the resurrection? 
  • How have doubt and asking questions influenced my own faith life?
  • Listen to the song Doubting Thomas by Nickel Creek. As you listen, notice any interior movements or feelings that arise. Is there a word or phrase that God is inviting you to explore today?

3 replies
  1. Dr Eileen Quinn Knight
    Dr Eileen Quinn Knight says:

    Asking question has wonderfully influenced my faith life. In the midst of prayer, I ask God questions and He steers me to the answers or better questions. He never thinks my questions are unattainable or stupid but directs them to ways I can develop my relationship with Him. If I ask Him a really difficult question about another, He send the Holy Spirit to me in quiet. I need to give people the plentitude of mercy He has given all of us. When I give that mercy, He helps me see the resurrection in my life. Mercy begets mercy. When I give mercy, mercy is given to me.
    I think that there are signs of resurrection all around us. The person who moved from another state and has solace and challenge in his new Church that he is able to truly pray and ask God the hard questions. Throughout the Gospel we hear God’s call to us and he gives us the opportunity and grace to respond. On the feast of St. Mark let us evangelize all those we see to day on his behalf and encourage others to do so also.

    Reply
  2. JB Treuting
    JB Treuting says:

    I was moved by Ms. Davis’ reflection. Thanks you for sharing your wisdom. I wish there were more folk with the courage to confess doubt and thirst for more desire for desire. Then we could talk about it. Praying to shrink this liminal space, JBT

    Reply
  3. Dr.Cajetan Coelho
    Dr.Cajetan Coelho says:

    Tom gave an impetus to the study of science. Doubting Thomas was blessed with a scientific mind. Saint Thomas the Apostle – Pray for us.

    Reply

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