Monday, December 21, 2009

The Feast of St. Thomas and the Winter Solstice

Today is the feast day of the man we remember as Doubting Thomas. It is also the Winter Solstice, shortest, and thus, darkest day of the year. It's a juxtaposition that makes sense. This is the time of year when it's tough to hold onto our faith in God's promise that darkness will give way to light.

I've always had a soft spot for St. Thomas. I like the fact that he doubts, and Jesus doesn't hold it against him. It makes sense to me that he would doubt: what a fantastic tale his fellow disciples told him! He must have thought that they'd finally all lost their collective minds. Suffering from spirit-cracking grief himself, he cannot believe in their tale of hope, a tale of hope that defied everything he knew about how life and death worked.

After all, is Thomas so different from any of us? Most of us must wonder if we're dabbling in lunacy ourselves, as we profess our beliefs in a triune God that defies the laws of nature. And most of us have probably had friends who only believe in what their senses tell them, and those friends have likely challenged us a time or two.

Here's a prayer from Phyllis Tickle's The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Winter for this day: "Everliving God, who strengthened your apostle Thomas with firm and certain faith in your Son's resurrection: Grant me so perfectly and without doubt to believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, that my faith may never be found wanting in your sight; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen."

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