Doubting Thomas is one of my most favorite saints. His appearance in the Gospel this past Sunday has allowed me to revisit my love of him. I have long identified with his need for reassurance in his faith. I feel like it was easy in my youth for me to accept my Catholic faith. I grew up in a home filled with talk of God and His love for me and desire for me to know, love and serve him.
It was not until the death of my 30 year old brother that I felt a true chasm in my own faith.
I prayed. I prayed a lot for something in my heart to change. To feel God. To see some sign that God really does exist and really does want me to be with Him… and that He is taking care of the ones I love and have lost.
I cannot report any parting clouds or lightening moments.
Only this one sweet memory that always creeps in when I feel sad. It is the memory of five siblings who were somehow able to walk away from their lives, travel hundreds of miles, and be reunited with their brother. He was unresponsive for hours, his brain cancer had caused massive brain swelling, doctors gave him hours. All of us, by nothing other than God’s faithfulness to us, got to be there together. My sister (mother of four) and three brothers (one a surgery resident, one preparing for law school, and one a father of three with a full time job who travels a lot) and myself (mother of three and 36 weeks pregnant with baby 4).
We were all gifted this moment in time where we left our lives and got to see our brother open his eyes and speak.
We spent time listening to him talk. We were able to comfort him with baths, lotion to his feet and legs, massages to his numbing arms, playing music and reliving memories of time gone by. We were the “Mader Kids” for five precious days. He lived for just over a month after that.
It was a real miracle in my life.
It was a mercy that I am so grateful to have be given. It is where I go when my heart yearns for something physical that can only be from God. It is my reaching to touch the hands and side of Jesus for the security that He is there for me. Really. Truly.