Between Midnight and Dawn: Keep Asking

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Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
John 20: 27-28

 

While Faith is with me, I am blest;
It turns my darkest night to day;
But while I clasp it to my breast,
I often feel it slide away.

What shall I do, if all my love,
My hopes, my toil, are cast away,
And if there be no God above,
To hear and bless me when I pray?

Oh, help me, God! For thou alone
Canst my distracted soul relieve;
Forsake it not: it is thine own,
Though weak, yet longing to believe.
~Anne Bronte from “The Doubter’s Prayer”

 

I think there is no suffering greater than
what is caused by the doubts of those who want to believe.

I know what torment this is, but I can only see it,
in myself anyway, as the process by which faith is deepened.
What people don’t realize is how much religion costs.
They think faith is a big electric blanket,
when of course it is the cross.
It is much harder to believe than not to believe.
If you feel you can’t believe, you must at least do this:
keep an open mind.
Keep it open toward faith,
keep wanting it,
keep asking for it,
and leave the rest to God.
~Flannery O’Connor from The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor

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On my doubting days, days too frequent and tormenting,
I remember the risen Christ
reaching out to place Thomas’ hand in His wounds,
gently guiding Thomas to His reality,
so it becomes Thomas’ reality.
His open wounds called
to Thomas’ mind and heart,
His flesh and blood
awakening a hidden faith
by a simple touch.

 

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4 thoughts on “Between Midnight and Dawn: Keep Asking

  1. I identify with the doubts, am thankful for those who express those doubts so eloquently, and comforted to know that is a significant part of the faith journey.

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  2. Emily, between Flannery O’Connor’s and your thoughts today I feel that I am in august company. During the times that I have felt doubt about the spiritual understanding of my faith they were usually accompanied by a sense of angst that left me with a lingering guilt. (As one with a string of Gaelic ancestors, I am familiar with guilt. It seems to come with our DNA.)
    I am hoping that doubt is and should be a sign of a healthy, growing faith leading us to question, to seek, to pray – stimuli that allow us to grow and to achieve wisdom and peace of soul. Unfortunately, between the doubt and the growth there is uncertainty (groping in the darkness?)
    If there is such a thing as spiritual GPS I would like to know where it is to be found.
    It is reassuring though to know that we can and do survive times of doubt.
    Your post today, Emily, affirms that indeed there can be times of doubt as we proceed on our Journey and that sharing those times of doubt within the Body are important and encouraging.

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