Today is the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, popularly known as the most skeptical member of the Lord’s inner circle.
The more I reflect on the nature and fruit of his incredulity, the more it seems to me that Thomas’s hesitancy, and subsequent surrender, contain profound lessons on the nature of genuine faith.
Protestants and Papolaters alike miss the point, each in their own way. The first posit that our Lord has somehow contrived to save us through a pile of parchment or pressed pulp; the second that he has pinned our souls to the backs of a succession of men every bit as fallible as ourselves.
The truth, as contained in Scripture, and proclaimed by Holy Mother Church on this joyous festival, is quite distinct from such ham handed heresies.
Our citizenship among the saints, St. Paul instructs the Ephesians, is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone: in whom all the building, being framed together, grows up into a holy temple of the Lord” (Eph. 2:20-21).
Since Scripture is bequeathed to us by the Apostles, it is most certainly an essential part of the frame of the temple of our faith, but hardly the whole of it.
On the other hand, any attempt to tinker with the architecture of faith must be seen to adhere, with sacred snugness, to the frame erected upon the foundation, whose corner stone is Christ. For our Lord did not authorize anyone to build outside that foundation, or demolish what his saints would loyally erect upon it over the centuries.
St. Thomas was absent when the Lord appeared, in secret, to his fellow apostles. Before giving credence to their report, he insisted upon tangible evidence of the faith for which his testimony was to be a major portion of the foundation from generation to generations.
Thomas no doubt recalled the words of his Lord, that “there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect” (Mt. 24:24). He did not want to be among those so fooled, or to be complicit in spreading folly among his fellow men.
Beholding the risen Christ for himself, Thomas was left with no doubt of his resurrection, or his divinity: “Thomas answered, and said to him: My Lord, and my God” (Jn. 20:28).
The foundations St. Thomas laid for our faith he knew to be sound. Let us not hesitate, like him, to seek proof that the things others would attribute to faith truly rest on the one any only corner stone, capable of sustaining an edifice that saves.
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