Enjoy the June 2016 issue of the Cursillo newsletter, The Evangelizer!
Faith is Believing Without Seeing
John 20:24-29 addresses the call to believe without seeing, but Thomas wasn’t willing. The importance of this event lies in the fact that it presents the relation between seeing and believing. More specifically, it shows the significance of believing after, or because of, having seen the risen Christ, and believing without having seen him.
The example of doubting Thomas provides both instruction and encouragement. After being told by the other disciples of Jesus’ resurrection and personal visit, Thomas “doubted” and wanted physical proof of the risen Lord in order to believe this good news. The testimony Thomas received from the other 10 disciples about Jesus’ return should have been enough, but still he doubted – even after spending three years being intimately acquainted with Jesus, witnessing all His miracles and hearing His prophecies about His coming death and resurrection.
The event occurred eight days after the appearance of Jesus to the other disciples. After greeting them with the traditional, “Peace be with you,” without any delay Jesus turns to Thomas and addresses him; knowing his human frailty resulted in weakened faith, He accommodated Thomas by inviting him to proceed with the demanded test.
The doubt Thomas experienced is not unlike our own when we face challenges in our life. Although Thomas did in fact doubt the Lord’s resurrection appearance, once he saw the risen Christ, he proclaimed in faith, “My Lord and my God” (Jn. 20:28). Jesus commended him for his faith, although that faith was based on sight. “Because you have seen me, you have believed.”
The encouraging part for all of us today is when Jesus also says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed (Jn. 20:29),” thus enabling us to believe that which we do not see with our eyes. This same thought is echoed by Peter, who said of Christ, “Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9).
Although we have the Spirit within us, we can still experience doubt. True saving faith always perseveres to the end just as Thomas’s did, and just as Peter’s did after he had a monumental moment of weakness by denying the Lord he loved and believed in.
So how do we keep from doubting as Thomas did? We must go to God in prayer when experiencing doubt. Sanctification is the process of growing in Him, which includes times of doubt and times of great faith. Like the man who brought his demon-possessed child to Jesus but was unsure whether Jesus could help him, we go to God because we believe in Him and ask Him for more and greater faith to overcome our doubts, saying, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:17-27).
Final Thoughts: “Faith is permitting ourselves to be seized by the things we do not see.” Martin Luther
“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”
The news from your Secretariat from the recent past is that we are attempting to reorganize this management arm of Cursillo, looking toward the future and what our “younger’ members will need to keep them growing toward a closer walk with our Beloved Lord Jesus for years to come. The primary goal is to be of one mind and heart serving our foundational charism which is “The Lord our God is Lord alone and we shall love the Lord Our God with all our hearts and all our soul and that we shall love our neighbors as we love ourselves.”.
The Belleville Cursillo, for many reasons, has grown to have two central areas of concentration, the Metro East and the Western vicariates. We need to reestablish Cursillo to be strong in all five of the vicariates of the diocese. To this end, we need parish representatives from all the parishes throughout the dioceses, someone or a group, willing to do the working of placing news articles in their parish bulletins and postings on the parish bulletin boards. If you are willing, please call me at 213-6391 or e-mail me at email@example.com .
Our website is doing very well averaging 30,000 hits per month with 500+ detailed reviews. Also, our new Facebook Group (Belleville Cursillo) now has more than 90 individuals signed up.
I invite any of you to give me your ideas on how we can better advertise and more efficiently make ourselves known within the body of Christ in Southern Illinois.
When this is read we will be past the season of Confirmation and Graduation, a time of new beginnings.
Confirmation challenges us to “go forth and proclaim the Gospel,” to use well the gifts of the Spirit to make a difference in our Church and world.
Graduation challenges us to observe and learn from the past, look to the future while we work in the present, beginning a new chapter in our lives.
Neither of these events should be seen as an ending, rather beginning a new phase of being who God has called us to be.
Way back when I was a junior in high school, I served as a junior marshal for the class ahead of me for their graduation. The theme that they chose for the event was: “When you are through learning; you are through.” For some reason that has stuck with me all these years and I have used it often in the classroom when I taught and in speaking to students on various occasions. Think about what it challenges us to do. It calls us to realize that we have much to learn, to study; as we will never know all that there is to know about the world, our profession, how to deal with people or how to be in relationship with our God.
If we study the Scriptures, the Lives of the Saints, we will glean from each the realization that our relationship with God and the Church is a living thing, a reality that ebbs and flows, it is not nor should it be stagnant. It is only in our commitment to prayer and study that we will grow and deepen our relationship with God and our fellow travelers on the pilgrimage to the Kingdom.
The biggest task that comes to all of us who have been Baptized and Confirmed is to strengthen our relationship with Christ, to share it with others; to live the call of the Cursillo weekend, “make a friend, be a friend and bring that friend to Christ.”
May you have a peace-filled and glorious summer!
With prayers and blessings,
De Colores, Fr. Gary