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On November 29, 2002 the world was very surprised when the diary of Mother Teresa was made public. We learned that Mother Teresa had painful doubts about God, wondering if God cared or even existed. This holy woman, who was canonized as a saint on September 4, 2016, was plagued with many religious doubts for years. 

In today’s Gospel (John 20:19-31), as we hear about Thomas, the perennial doubter, we should remember that everyone walks through life with doubt on one arm and faith on the other arm. Sometimes one pulls the other, but most people follow the tug of faith.

Thomas is a lot like us. Jesus, his friend and mentor, is arrested, beaten to a pulp and crucified. How could Thomas be a believer anymore? What can you and I do when such doubts hit us?

First of all, we must stay with the community. When Thomas left the faith community, his doubts got the best of him. Only when he rejoined the faith community was he able to say, “My Lord and my God!” No one single person believes all the time.

Second, when doubt becomes so strong, it is important to become a Painful Pilgrim. A Painful Pilgrim is someone who is going through a period of doubt, but continues to go to church, so they can continue their search. A Painful Pilgrim is someone like Mother Teresa.

It is so important during this time of the pandemic for you to remain a Painful Pilgrim by going to church if you can or certainly by watching church services on TV or your computer. 

Thirdly, check out who your friends are. If the people you hang out with scoff at anything sacred, then your doubts will sink deeper and deeper. 

Are YOU at times a Painful Pilgrim?    What have YOU done about it as a result?


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