Today we celebrate the life of St. Thomas. It's also the Winter Solstice. It's the time of year for doubting, for feeling that the dark will never recede. It's a good day to celebrate the most famous doubter of all.
Who can blame Thomas for doubting? It was a fantastic story, even if you had travelled with Jesus and watched his other miracles. Once you saw the corpse of Jesus taken off the cross, you would have assumed it was all over.
And then, it wasn't. Thomas, late to see the risen Lord, was one of the fiercest believers, legend tells us, Thomas walking all the way to India.
I wonder if Thomas is near and dear to the heart of the more rational believers. We're not all born to be mystics, after all. I worry about our vanishing sense of wonder. We've all become Thomas now. We don't believe anything that we can't measure with our five senses.
The more I read in the field of the Sciences, the more my sense of wonder is reignited. I continue to be so amazed at the way the world works, both the systems we've created and the ones created before we came along. The more I know, the more I want to shout from the rooftops, "Great show, God!" (long ago, when my friend had small children, they would shout this refrain whenever they saw something beautiful in nature, like a gorgeous sunset; I try to remember to shout it too).
So today, as the earth leaves its darkest time and inches towards light, let us raise a mug of hot chocolate to St. Thomas, who showed us that we can have doubts and still persevere. Let us raise a mug of hot chocolate to solstice celebrations and all the ways that the natural world can point us back to our Creator. Let us pray that our rational selves live in harmony with our sense of wonder.
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."
feeling the feelings…
8 months ago