Humor: Saint Thomas the Doubter

Doubt is a gift from God and doubt is something we should pray for God to grant. Pray to God constantly for the gift of doubt. Doubt is the safety net we all need as we teeter along life’s tightrope. Faith may carry us through the brightest and the darkest times, but doubt and skepticism will keep us from faithfully "Drinking the Kool-Aid" and dying for the cause in some other Jonestown.
Prayer to Saint Thomas the Doubter

Saint Thomas, you once doubted that Jesus had risen; your grief for your teacher and master was such that you would doubt any reports unless you saw him and touched his wounds.  Because you saw him, you rejoiced and exclaimed: "My Lord and my God!"

Saint Thomas give me the strength to be honest about being doubtful, like you were. May faith be built like sturdy building--brick on brick, stone on stone, wood on wood--as you rendered most powerful assistance for constructing a church. Please bless architects, builds and carpenters that through them the Lord may be honored.  As the patron saint of doubters, please bless all skeptics that doubts be valued. Amen. So be it.

Almighty and everliving God, who honored your apostle Thomas with doubt in the resurrection of Jesus. Grant that I also have doubts so that I examine and think to understand all things in truth. I ask this in the name Saint Thomas the doubter and in the name of Jesus Christ, Lord and God, who lives and reigns with Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. So be it.

--prayer provided by an undisclosed source

Myth’s Notes:

You will not find this info in the “History and saints” section. This prayer is in the "Humor" section along with What Would Aradia Do?, Real Old Time Religion, Letter from Kindergarten, A Path with no Name. It has nothing to do with Folk Catholicism and the prayer should not be taken too seriously.

Yet, I think I ought to take moment to share some lore about Saint Thomas out of courtesy to whomever honors him as a patron and to the good saint himself.

Saint Thomas the Apostle is a genuine saint recognized by the Catholic Church--and many Protestant sects, including the Lutheran Church, the Anglican Church, and the Episcopal Church.

Saint Thomas the Apostle is also officially known as:

Thomas Didymus
Thomas the Twin
Judas Thomas
San Tommaso apostolo
San Tommaso Didimo
His feast day is celebrated on July 3 (in memory of his relics translation to Edessa)--and December 21 (the date of his death) on the older calendars. (The Byzantine and Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate his feast day on October 6 or 19.)

According to the New Testament, Thomas was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ—and very loyal.  

Thomas was prepared to die with his spiritual master, when Jesus announced that he was returning to Jerusalem to awaken Lazarus.   The apostles did not wish to return to Judea as there had been an incident that Jesus had been threatened with stoning under the charge of blasphemy.

The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
  -- John 10:33 KJV
However, Jesus was returning in order to enact the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead—although that does not seem to have been at all clear to the apostles.  Thus, the apostles simply could not dissuade their spiritual master from going.

In John 11:16, loyal Thomas responded to them:

Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
--John 11:16 KJV
The symbol of Saint Thomas the Apostle  is the builder’s square. There is more than one reason provided for this iconography. According to the apocryphal The Acts of Judas Thomas, Thomas was sent to spread the Gospel as the missionary to India.  One tale explained that Saint Thomas built the first Christian church in India with his own hands. More symbolically, a builder’s square is viewed as representing building a strong spiritual foundation.  Thus, his patronage includes: architects, builders, masons, stone masons, stonecutters, cowans, construction workers, surveyors, geometricians, and theologians.

Legend claimed that Saint Thomas the Apostle died in Mylapur, India. While in prayer on a hill, he was stabbed with a spear circa 72.  He was buried near the site of his death. His relics were later moved to Edessa, Mesopotamia, and then later moved to Tortona, Italy in the 13th century.

Not surprisingly, his patronage includes the following locations: India, the diocese of Bathery, India,  the East Indies, Indonesia, Ceylon, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Castelfranco di Sopra, Italy, Certaldo, Italy, Ortona, Italy.

However, Saint Thomas the Apostle is most famously known as “the Doubting Thomas.”

The verses of John 20:24-28 explained how Thomas the apostle picked up this nickname:

But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
-John 20:24-28 KJV
And for this reason, this good saint’s patronage includes:  “people in doubt” and “people who are blind.” Saint Thomas’ help is likewise invoked against “doubt” and against “blindness.”  Most likely “blind” could be said to imply “spiritually blind.”

Thomas was skeptical when he first heard that Jesus had risen from the dead, and then appeared to the other apostles, “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.”  --John 20:25.  Saint Thomas could have been from Missouri, the "Show-Me State.” (Missouri's U.S. Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver during a speech in Philadelphia, 1899, said: "I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.")

Though I am fascinated by the veneration of saints and certainly respect it, I do not personally give much veneration to the saints, myself.  Nevertheless, I tend to think that "Doubting Thomas the Venerable," aka  "Saint Thomas the Doubter," surely will also offer his patronage to skeptics, doubters, nonbelievers, questioners, and other such folks--because honest doubt is a good thing, too.

Copyright 2017 Myth Woodling

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