Monday, April 16, 2007

Thomas is our eyes

Since yesterday I've been struck with the profound difference between the belief of faith and the belief of knowledge. Thomas is so like us, he wants to withold his belief until he sees, and when he sees, he leaps beyond what is seen to what is unseen, MY LORD AND MY GOD!

We are, I suspect, by nature drawn to want to believe in what we know, which is really not belief at all, but knowledge. But we use the expression "I believe" because we have given assent to something as fact, because we have received it, tested it, and judged it to be so; otherwise, we would not believe it.

Now, Thomas, who said he would not believe unless he saw, saw, and believed. But, believed what? He accepted the fact of Jesus' ressurection, this is not belief, but knowledge, pure and simple. His stated belief was the divinity of Jesus, as God Himself. In this, what fact did he judge and come to knowledge of? None whatsovever; rather, the testimony of Jesus regarding his divinity was now accepted; the evidence of things unseen (Heb 11:1, right?).

but us, yes, we want to see. How many saw Jesus and did not believe, and yet we think this would help? The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 Jn 3:1) Those who saw Him did not believe Him, just as those who see His appointed apostles do not believe them.

St. Paul reminds us that we are members, one of another, in the body of Christ, a body that is one, a mystery so profound. This body is each of us by ourselves, but all of us united with Christ, the head, who has proceeded us into heaven. This "all of us" includes those who have gone before us, the ultimate democracy that overturns the tyranny of the living, as GKC put it with such delightful wit and charm. as we share the goods of the body, we can say, as St. Augustine taught, that yes, I speak in all the tongues of men, because the Church spread to the ends of the earth speaks all the languages of men. Likewise, Thomas is our eyes, he has spoken for us, it is enough; it is the evidence of things unseen.

Thomas, years later in India, stood on the beach where today the Santhome Cathedral stands, and drove a log into the sand of the beach and said "The waters will not pass here!" When the Tsunami hit Asia, the wall of water parted at the steps of the cathedral where the staff is commemorated, and swept away on both sides for miles, but touched none of the thousands inside.

the Santhome Cathedral Basilica is built on Thomas' tomb.

Here's the Jan 4 2005 article from The Indian Catholic; it bears reading.
How Tsunami Waves Did Not Touch Santhome Cathedral

I've strayed a bit, but the point of this is that there is the belief which is natural, and the faith which is supernatural. The latter is an infused gift of baptism, which, however, we can sin against. We do so, whenever we place our assent at the service of our own judgement, not in simply receiving it from God's appointed messenger.

without faith it is impossible to please God. (Heb 11:6)

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