Reading the letters of St. Paul of the Cross you notice how often he wishes the one to whom he’s writing to be placed in the “wounds of Christ” or the “holy Side of Jesus” or his “Sacred Heart.”. “I am in a hurry and leave you in the holy Side of Jesus, where I ask rich blessings for you.”
Expressions like these seem to be pious phrases until we read the story of Thomas from John’s gospel. Jesus shows the doubting disciple the wounds in his hands and side, and Thomas believes.
Belief is not something we arrive at by our own powers of reason or will. Faith is a gift that God gives through Jesus Christ.
We’re tempted to seek the safety of belief in an unbelieving world, to become unquestioning when troublesome questions arise. Our way to God should be quiet and undisturbed, we think.
Gregory the Great reminds us today of Thomas the Apostle.
“In a marvellous way God’s mercy arranged that the disbelieving disciple, in touching the wounds of his master’s body, should heal our wounds of disbelief. The disbelief of Thomas has done more for our faith than the faith of the other disciples. As he touches Christ and is won over to belief, every doubt is cast aside and our faith is strengthened. So the disciple who doubted, then felt Christ’s wounds, becomes a witness to the reality of the resurrection.”
That’s an interesting statement, isn’t it? “The disbelief of Thomas has done more for our faith than the faith of the other disciples.”
At Mass these days we’re reading the story of Abraham. What questions he had! He laughed a laugh of unbelief when God told this old man he would have a child. He had no answers when he took Isaac up the hill of Moriah to be a sacrifice to God. Yet he is “our father in faith.”
We go to God through questions, and some troubles too. We go to God by touching the wounds of Christ.