But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
C.S. Lewis may have been thinking of St. Thomas when he crafted a famous scene in The Last Battle, the end of his Chronicles of Narnia. The Narnians have been taken in by a false Aslan (the real Aslan is a good but not tame Lion- the Christ figure). Some dwarves feel manipulated and embittered by this ruse. They have given up believing that a real Aslan exists. Nevertheless, they are eventually welcomed to paradise by Aslan personally.
Sadly, the dwarves are determined to not be fooled again and insist they are not in paradise. They convince themselves that they are still trapped in a dark, hopeless, filthy, barn. After trying repeatedly, Aslan explains that the dwarves will not be swayed, “They have chosen cunning instead of belief.”
Thomas displays dwarf-like cunning, and don’t we all! But, unlike the dwarves, when he is invited personally by Christ to “not be unbelieving,” Thomas allows the “Peace” of Christ’s greeting to fill his mind, his heart, and his lips, “My Lord and my God!” So, we call him Saint Thomas.
—Sean Agniel is ending a term as the provincial’s assistant for secondary and pre-secondary education for the U.S. Central and Southern Province. This summer he will begin working at Saint Louis University High School as the advancement chief of staff.
When we pray the Examen of St. Ignatius, Christ greets us personally with, “Peace be with you.” He invites us to notice him in our day, to see and touch his wounds and to enjoy his glorified presence. The Examen gives us an opportunity to confront our cunningness, and to “not be unbelieving, but believe.”
There are many guides and suggestions for praying the Examen. Here’s a simple one worth trying.