Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Real Faith

Most of us live life as the father of the boy with the demon in Mark's gospel, caught in the middle. His exclamation:
I do believe, help my unbelief!
We may not say we are unbelieving but when tragedy strikes, when we really come under attack, or even when ( Let's be honest) we really mess up our lives; we start praying for God to fix it. And when he doesn't fix it, within what we think to be a reasonable period of time, the doubt creeps in.
We begin to ask: Where is God? Why isn't he helping me? Why is he letting this happen to me? Or worst, why did he do this to me?
In reality doubt in itself is not a bad thing. Doubt is a fork in the road, a question. Doubt is not the opposite of faith. Unbelief is the opposite of faith. Doubt can be the road to deeper faith, true faith. What human in this life has pure faith?
Doubt sets before us two doors. One is the door of resignation. We give up. We quit searching for an understanding of God's Word.
The other door looks very similar but is in fact the opposite. It is the door of surrender. It is the door of today's saint, Thomas.
We tend to remember him for his doubt and we forget his most important 5 words. The words by which he surrendered completely to Jesus:
My Lord and My God
In this exclamation he does not magically receive all the answers to his doubts, his questions. He simply surrenders. With these five words (7 in Greek) he entrusts his entire being into the hands of Jesus. He allows himself to fall, to fall into that Love that is God.
We use the words Lord and God so often, we can forget what they demand.
Lord (Kyrios) demands obedience.
God (Theos) demands worship.
And remember that in Latin oboedire means first of all to listen.
On this Feast of St. Thomas we must make his words our own. Today's gospel ends with "Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." That's us!
At every moment of our life, particularly the hard ones can we let the words of St. Thomas become our mantra? They may not be absolutely true at this moment. You may not be ready to surrender yet. Say them anyway. Say them over and over. With the help of God's grace they become true.