DOUBT AND FAITH

Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” (John 20.25)

WITHOUT there being room in our minds for honest questions and even for doubt, there cannot really be room for faith. Blind acceptance of an idea, be it philosophical, political, scientific or religious, is merely brainwashing or a foolish, in denial response to fear. St Thomas, rather unfairly nicknamed forever, Doubting Thomas (the other disciples didn’t believe until they saw either) symbolizes a necessary moment in all our faith journeys. It is a moment we may revisit many times in our lives. It is not the enemy of faith, rather it is perhaps her closest friend.

This reflection plays off some lyrics by songwriter Paul Simon.

 

Through the corridors of sleep

I’ve been lying here for a week or more. Can’t sleep. Can’t wake. Just lying here. I must have eaten something I suppose. I seem to be still here anyway. Someone came and said they’d seen him. Can’t remember if it was Magdelene or Peter or one of the others. But they must have been delirious. We all know they got him. And I saw him in the dust on the street. He was half dead then. Could hardly even carry his cross. He wouldn’t have lasted long even if they didn’t nail him up. But John saw that they did anyway. I believe that much…

 

Past shadows, dark and deep

 

I just want to die. A year ago, we had so much hope, all of us. Life was hard on the road. We didn’t always go to sleep without that empty, hungry feeling. Didn’t always know we’d get breakfast in the morning either. And the cold, hard ground under the stars was hard to take sometimes, once the night fire was out. But he was radiant. We just fed off his energy, no matter how hard it got, the incessant crowds, the so too many sick and lost ones, the chasers and the harriers from the authorities, the constant questions and accusations. He just seemed to know what to do, always. So much hope in our hearts! We were building a better world. His way was God’s way. He was the way, the truth and the life. But now he’s gone. And they’ll get the rest of us too. One by one, if we keep away from each other. Quickly if we stay together. Maybe that’s what they were doing up in that room. Waiting to die together. I want to die. I don’t want to die…


My mind dances and leaps in confusion

I was the one who got the others to follow him up to Lazarus’ place that time, even though I knew it was dangerous. Even thought we might get killed if we went. But I still believed in him then. Maybe if the soldiers came for him, he’d finally do his messiah thing and the better world would just explode into being. But when they came for him in the garden after the feast, I just knew it wasn’t going to end well. The air was so still. The night so black. There was blood just waiting to get spilled. His blood. Our blood. But there was something in his eyes. Sad. Afraid. But something more too. He seemed to know something. There was still that light in him. That radiance. And he was concerned about us, still. Even though we were already running in our hearts. We couldn’t fight that lot anyway. Every man for himself now. But what was that I saw in his eyes? What do they mean they saw him? How can they see a dead man? But…what? My mind’s going now…


I don’t know what is real

He was always saying stuff about that. What’s real and not real. He used to say only God is real. Time and space, they’re not real. Just illusions. Life and death. Illusions. Believe in him and we had life. Eat his body, he said that night. Drink his blood? I never could follow him far down that road. Only John could sit up with him when he got into the… philos-O-phy… Oh so clever John, who thinks he’s the special one, the ‘one… Jesus… loved’… the ‘Be-Loved dis-Ciple’…eww…


I can’t touch what I feel

But something’s different in me. I can feel this stirring in my heart and in my stomach. I don’t know what it is but I used to feel it when he was around. That hope thing. I don’t know. It’s weird. He always used to say we should trust that feeling in our hearts, in our guts. He said that’s how the Holy Spirit starts to feel when we wake up to it. The Holy Spirit that we get through his ‘living water’ or was it his blood or his body, or the bread that lasts forever or? I don’t know what. It’s that philosophy stuff again. I’m going mad here…


And I hide behind the shield of my illusion

Well I don’t know. I think they’ve gone crazy. Seen him. Ha! Mary Magdalene said that. We didn’t believe her. She’s a dreamer… And now they’ve ‘seen’ him, have they? I reckon they’re delirious or something. All making each other not right in the head. Well, I’m not mad. I don’t believe them. I won’t believe them unless I see him for myself. Yes. That’s right. See him and touch him. Stick my finger in his side. Feel the wounds on his hands and feet. Yeah right. Like that’s going to happen…

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~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on April 26, 2014.

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