Blessed Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, the Apostle of India.

Most people know him from the single episode in the upper room after Our Lord’s resurrection (John 20) when he at first refused to believe without seeing.  And if you refer to “Doubting Thomas” everyone will know whom you mean.  But when you take a look at his whole life and his martyr’s death, it would be more accurate if we called him “Trusting Thomas.”  Sent out with all of the Apostles to proclaim the Good News to the ends of the earth, Thomas evangelized in Syria and Persia before making his way down the ancient trade route to India, where he was eventually martyred.

Thomas is a saint for our times.  As Pope Benedict XVI put it, his case “is important to us for at least three reasons: first, because it comforts us in our insecurity; second, because it shows us that every doubt can lead to an outcome brighter than any insecurity; and, lastly, because the words that Jesus addressed to him remind us to persevere, despite the difficulty, along our journey of adhesion to him.”

If you or someone you love is struggling with doubt, get to know Thomas.  The easiest way I can think of is with Mike Aquilina and Christopher Bailey’s great little book The Doubter’s Novena: Nine Steps to Trust with the Apostle Thomas.

The church that St. Thomas planted in India survives to this day.  When the missionaries followed in the wake of explorers from Europe 1500 years later, they found Christians already there.  They also preached to many who were the descendants of those Thomas Christians and led them back to the faith of their fathers.  But work remains to be done there as everywhere.  Earlier this week, I received the following note at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology from a friend of in Tamil Nadu at the southern tip of India.  We are sending them materials and prayers;  Please join us.

I am an Indian and live in the city where St. Thomas the Apostle was
martyerd and I also come from the community who were recoverted to
Christianity by St. Francis Xavier. But the worst part of it is that the
community which as sheparded by St, Francis Xavier are moving away from
Catholisim and to the Protestantism. Even my own brother in law (his father
was the founder of Mary’s Prayer Group in UAE !!) and his family has moved
from Catholicisim !!!! Even I could not do much. The reason, the lack of
scripture knowledge amongst Catholics. I know my limitation hence I
heartily appreciate this initiative of yours.