I believe but . . .
If the thought has ever crossed your mind that while you do believe sometimes you have your doubts, you may be assured that you are not alone and that, in fact, you share some very interesting company.
While in prison, John the Baptist sent a delegation to Jesus to ask if he was the Messiah or should he look for someone else. The man in Mark’s gospel, who brings his son to Jesus to be healed, expresses doubt, “But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” (Mark 9:22) And in today’s gospel we read that Thomas, one of Jesus’ own disciples, didn’t believe the others when they told him about the resurrection.
Then there are the ten Apostles locked away, hiding in fear and struggling with their own doubts until they actually see the risen Jesus.
In each instance, in spite of some doubt, Jesus replies with compassion; to John he gives the evidence of his miracles, he heals the man’s sick son, he invites Thomas to touch the wounds in his hands and side. The Apostles see and believe.
Thomas believed when he saw, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” (John 20:29)
Doubt can co-exist with faith. “Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.” (Paul Tillich) While we tend to say; if I see then I will believe God says, believe and then you will see. The blind man in the gospel first believed then his sight was restored. Jesus said, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.” (Luke 18-42)
We are blessed then for believing without seeing and we constantly pray, “I do believe, help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)
- Fr. Stephen Haslach, C.P.