Matins Devotion: December 21, 2022
One of the reasons our world is such a mess today is because we have a bad habit of letting our afflictions tell us how to get rid of them. Loneliness convinces us that the solution to loneliness is one more night of isolation. Addiction-fueled shame convinces us that the way to drive it away is one more night of slobbering intoxication.. Lust convinces us that the solution to the problem of our need for physical companionship is one more night of meaningless pleasure.
But of course, your lust doesn’t want to leave you alone, nor does your despair, nor does your doubt. Your sin doesn’t want to die. It just wants to trick you into embracing treatments that seem like they’ll kill it but end up only giving it more power over you. We see this in St. Thomas.
St. Thomas’s doubt convinced him what he needed to believe. But Thomas’s doubt didn’t want to die. That’s why he asked for something he didn’t think he’d ever get, to put his hand in the mark of the nails and thrust his hand in his side. And I have no doubt that if Jesus had appeared before Thomas and said nothing, Thomas would have dug his fingers in Christ’s wounds, then turned to the apostles and said, “that’s not Him. I need something more.”
But despite the abundance of artwork depicting Thomas doing exactly these things, as the text presents it, you’ll notice that something else happens when Jesus appears to Thomas. Jesus invites him to investigate His wounds and then Thomas believes. Jesus speaks the word and it’s that word kills Thomas’s doubt. Then Jesus speaks these words that are a stern rebuke for Thomas but sweet salvation to us, ““Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
So in the end, we see things clearly. Your doubt is a liar. Whatever your doubt says that you need in order for it to die, that’s the thing your doubt is going to use to make itself even stronger. So don’t believe your doubt’s diagnosis. Believe Jesus. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. You don’t need to see Jesus to know He’s real. You have his word, the word given to you in baptism, the word given to you in the Scriptures, the word given to you in the Sacrament of the Altar, the word given to you in Holy absolution.
Jesus has told you through these gifts that He is living, that He is your savior, that He loves you and will welcome you into His kingdom. Through this word, Jesus has told you that He has conquered your every sin and crushed every tooth of the devil that tried to devour you. Through His word, Jesus has shown you that He is your Lord and your God. Don’t believe your despair when it says you need something bigger and better for you to be set free. There is nothing bigger and better than the word of God. Don’t believe your despair when it says you need proof. You don’t need proof. You need Jesus. And in His word, you have Him.