21 December 2005

Saint Thomas Day

Today for Lutherans, Anglicans, and Western Rite Orthodox is the day to commemorate and give thanks for St. Thomas. At today's service St. Gregory the Great preached (thank you, Vicar, for giving him voice) and his words are worth hearing:

"What is seen gives knowledge, not faith. When Thomas saw and touched, why was he told: You have believed because you have seen me? Because what he saw and what he believed were different things. God cannot be seen by mortal man. Thomas saw a human being, whom he acknowledged to be God, and said: My Lord and my God. Seeing, he believed; looking at the one who was true man, he cried out that this was God, the God he could not see."

Similarly to St. Thomas' experience, the Church holds aloft, elevates, our Lord's Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist. What is seen is but bread and wine, but faith looks to what is not seen and cries out: "My Lord and my God!" For truly in the Eucharist the bread is our Lord's body and the wine is His blood. Thus the pious custom arose of the faithful whispering to themselves at the elevation the words of St. Thomas - "My Lord and my God!" Amen!

Collect: Almighty and ever-living God, You strengthened Your apostle Thomas with firm and certain faith in the resurrection of Your Son. Grant us such faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, that we may never be found wanting in Your sight; through the same Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

When Thomas afterward had heard
That Jesus had fulfilled His Word
He doubted if it were the Lord. Alleluia!

"Thomas, behold my side," saith He,
"My hands and feet and body see
And doubt not, but believe in Me." Alleluia!

No longer Thomas then denied;
He saw the feet, the hands, the side.
"Thou art my Lord and God" he cried. Alleluia!

Blessed are those that have not seen
And yet whose faith hath constant been.
In life eternal they shall reign. Alleluia! (The Venerable Bede)

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