I posted a big block of text yesterday -- a fascinating account of the Assumption of Mary from an apocryphal text attributed to Joseph of Arimathaea. What strikes me the most in this text is the way that Thomas receives a pretty harsh rebuke from St. Peter: "And seeing and kissing each other, the blessed Peter said to him: Truly thou hast always been obdurate and unbelieving, because for thine unbelief it was not pleasing to God that thou shouldst be along with us at the burial of the mother of the Saviour."
Now, if it were me, I think I might have said something like: "Come on, Pete! I repented of that. Get over it already! You wouldn't want me to be constantly reminding you of how you denied our Lord, would you? Besides, you don't know what you're talking about, because I might not have been with the rest of you at that burial, but I witnessed something pretty darn amazing myself..."
But dear Thomas only responds thus: "And he, beating his breast, said: 'I know and firmly believe that I have always been a bad and an unbelieving man; therefore I ask pardon of all of you for my obduracy and unbelief.' And they all prayed for him."
This is how I want to respond, too! It's so much more attractive, so honest, so much saner. And so counter-cultural, I might add!
And then the whole truth comes out, and Thomas is vindicated: "And the apostles seeing the belt which they had put about her, glorifying God, all asked pardon of the blessed Thomas, on account of the benediction which the blessed Mary had given him, and because he had seen the most holy body going up into heaven."
What did Thomas say to this? Did he proclaim, in triumph, "Ah, see! I'm not so bad after all! I'm just as cool as the rest of you... You better never look down on me again, because I rock!"? No, the text says, simply, "And the blessed Thomas gave them his benediction, and said: 'Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!'"
Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
Dearest St. Thomas, please pray for all of us because if we want to dwell together in unity, so much needs to be sacrificed! Help me to be this in love with destiny, Lord!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Dumbstruck by the Mystery
-- Julian Carron in "Friends, that is, Witnesses."