St Thomas the Apostle

I’ve long believed that doubt is a virtue and that certainty, when it offers itself, is almost certainly an illusion.
Our great glory as human beings is that we are fallible and we know it; we make mistakes about as often as we draw breath, and that’s no bad thing so long as we remember to celebrate the fact. The one bad thing is to deny doubt, to forget fallibility.
Consider the certain of this world, the despots, dictators, and demagogues untroubled by doubt. They turn their back on doubt’s blessings because, above all, they seek doubt’s enemy and opposite: power, the power to control, the power to hide their fear, the power not to change.
Thomas stands at the very opposite pole as the patron saint of humility. He knows how easily we get it wrong and he knows how important it is to get this one thing right. ‘I will not believe until I see, until I touch.’
And God honours his humility with his own body. ‘Come and touch me’ says Jesus. ‘Feel these wounds, recognise me, trust me.’ And Thomas, blessed by doubt, is the one among them to grasp what all the others, in their certainty, have not seen: ‘My God’, he says, ‘My God’.
If we are lucky we bring all kinds of doubt with us on retreat: uncertainties, humilities, little wounds in our belief. Yet when we touch them with gentle honesty, God’s own body draws near and becomes really real to us. There is a wounded hand to hold, a living face to explore, and a body of knowledge to discover inch by inch. God can claim us and change us and bring us back, with him, to life.