Incredulity and Mystery

Every time he opens his online daily meditation he sees a detail

of The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, c. 1601-1602, by Caravaggio.

Thomas, using the index finger of his right hand, lifts back

the flap on the wound in the side of Jesus. Thomas needs to

see and touch before he will believe that the one before him is

the crucified Jesus. Jesus grants the request but qualifies it by

saying that those who believe without seeing are blessed. The

man thinks that sounds a lot like it was written a lot later and

put into Jesus’ mouth by someone who couldn’t see or touch

but who was a member of one of the many, many communities

of those who believe the mystery. The man likes Thomas, under-

stands Thomas, is Thomas. He likes the scientific method of

testing and observing over and over and over and tentatively

affirming until it is disproved. He sees himself using the index

finger of his left hand to lift the flap on the wound of whatever

it is he is examining. He peers deeply into the wound, he smells

the dried blood, he sees the internal organs and then he feels

the mystery of the spirit flow from the wound and engulf his

head seeping into his nostrils, causing his eyes to water, creat-

ing a ringing in his ears. Yes, he relies on and trusts the tools

of investigation but, still and even better, like the Johnny

Come Lately of the community of mystery, he loves the myster-

ious spirit of life which he inhales deeply.

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