Doubt With Courage


“We have seen the Lord.” But [St. Thomas the Apostle] said to [the Apostles], “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.” Doubting is natural to us because of our nature to learn and absorb through time. Until we have fully grasped a subject and have woven it into our intellect we will have questions. This is how we come to understand on a deeper level, by not accepting at face-value, but asking for more to grasp and digest.

St. Thomas doubted that Christ had risen from the dead not because he thought the apostles were lying, but he wanted more to grasp this unprecedented event. How can a man that was once pierced and left hanging to die breath again? When we meditate on this event  we have 2000 years of Church teaching; St. Thomas had none of that. He had had a rough past weekend and now being asked to accept the unthinkable. He had his doubts about this great news, however, in the midst of his doubt he did what we rarely do, show courage and reveal the insecurity that cause the doubt. By merely asking for what he lacked in belief, he had set the recipe for his remedy and allowed himself to remain open to the truth.

The vivid details in his reply speak volumes of what’s in his heart. When he was told that Christ was alive again  he immediately thought of the hands that were marked by nails driven and the side that was pierced. None of the Gospel accounts tell of St. Thomas being present at the crucifixion. In fact, St. Mark describes the women that were looking on from afar, but no mention of him. How did he learn of such details like the pierced side? Could he have been helplessly watching his Lord while hiding in the crowd as not to get noticed? Maybe. If he did, he would have had to stay until the very end to witness the piercing of the side. Could he have asked for the account of what had happened? More likely. If he did, he would have asked for details to hear about the piercing of the side, since that was not a usual part of a crucifixion. In either scenario, the details were imprinted in his heart and this heart needed a little more to grasp than a group of ecstatic men to mend it.

“Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” Christ knew Thomas needed to touch his beloved teacher to believe of the resurrection. He was not the only that doubted all of the apostles doubted as well and Jesus rebuked them all for their lack of faith. To Thomas, however, Jesus gave a remedy to a deficiency that Thomas admitted to with courage.

All imperfect people are prone to doubt. It creeps in when we lack the necessary knowledge to grasp our surrounding event. We doubt the financial capability when a baby is on the way, the love in a relationship when the next step is approaching and we doubt our faith when God calls us closer to holiness. If we must doubt, let us doubt with courage and expose our deficiency along the way. Let us ask family for assurance, spouses for love affirmation and God for an influx of faith; holding doubt in with cowardice intertwined will fester into complete ruin. Courage will turn doubt into an opportunity to shine and proclaim like St. Thomas proclaimed “My Lord and my God.”

St. Thomas that doubted Apostolic foundation of the Catholic Church of the East, pray for us.

3 Responses to “Doubt With Courage”

  1. Ian Climacus Says:

    How blessed was St Thomas indeed to receive the “remedy to a deficiency” from Jesus as you wrote; and I liked the striking-out of the “that doubted” from your final invocation.

    And thank you for helping me to see deeper into my doubts as due to both imperfection and a lack of knowledge, and to call upon God, through the prayers of St Thomas, the Apostolic foundation of the Catholic Church of the East, to grant me, and us all, courage in our doubt, not weakness/cowardice.

  2. Giliana Says:

    Any man that grabs the hands of St. John Chrysostom to dive deeper into the bible is an inspiration of mine.

    As we near Ascension and Pentecost one of his quotes comes to mind “For the Spirit made them men of iron instead of men of clay, gave them wings, and allowed them to be cast down by nothing human.”

  3. Ian Climacus Says:

    A beautiful quote, thank you.

    As you approach Pentecost, we are celebrating Thomas Sunday, and I was reminded of your post through the hymns, two of which I share below as they reminded me of your words of the “remedy to a deficiency” and how Thomas’ action convinces us of Jesus’ being Resurrection.

    O good Christ, when you entered unto your Disciples, the doors being shut, Thomas, who was called Didymus, was not with them. Wherefore, he doubted what was told him. Albeit, you did not deem him unworthy for his lack of faith, rather assuring him of faith, by showing him your pure side, and the wounds in your hands and feet. Therefore, having sought and beheld, he confessed that you
    are not simply God and and not merely Man, crying, “My Lord and my God, glory to you!”

    When the doors were shut, Jesus came to the Disciples and gave them fearlessness and peace. Then he said to Thomas, “Why do you not believe me, that I have risen from the dead? Bring your hand here, and put it into my side, and see: for by your not believing, all have learnt both my Passion and my Resurrection, and to cry, ‘My Lord and my God, glory to you.'”

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