|The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter XX: ”The Confession of Our Own Weakness, and the Miseries of this Life” (first entry)
In this chapter, Kempis bemoans the difficulty we have in controlling our passions due to our weakness that comes from concupiscence. Only God’s help along with our own discipline can find us overcoming our inordinate desire for the “mire” of earthly pleasures.
|Today’s Gospel reading: Jn 20:24-29
On today’s Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle, we again hear the story of “doubting Thomas” for which this great saint goes down in infamy. Thomas was not present on Resurrection Sunday and expressed serious doubts about the veracity of the apostles’ insistence that Jesus had visited them in the flesh that evening. The following Sunday is when the Lord appears to Thomas and invites him to probe His wounds. Upon this event, Thomas makes an awesome profession of faith prompting Jesus to bless all those in the future who will believe in the Resurrection without having seen the Lord in His glory.
When we clearly recognize and humbly acknowledge our “littleness” and “frailty” we are far ahead of the game. Without grace we have no chance. When we trust in the Lord and cooperate with the grace He so wishes to pour out upon us we can move mountains. Thomas must have recognized in an instant his own weakness and faithlessness — despite the depictions of this apostle literally probing Jesus’ wounds upon His invitation, I really don’t believe it ever got to that point (Scripture certainly does not explicitly state that he did so). Instead of thinking poorly of Thomas for his doubt, we should thank him for his witness and be grateful to his compatriot, John, for relating this scene. Not only does it reinforce the truth of the Resurrection, it gives us Jesus’ heartening closing sentiment, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” The Lord took on human littleness and frailty. He understands our weakness and temptations. Believe that only He can help us overcome our challenges if only we ask.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Mt 7:7-8)