Dominus Meus et Deus Meus
Thomas A. Droleskey
Saint Thomas the Apostle plays a role in every offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Yes, his name appears in the Roman Canon as an alter Christus prepares to bring God down in His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity on an altar of Sacrifice under the appearance of bread and wine. Each and every single one of us utters the words of Saint Thomas when we see the Host and Chalice elevated by a true priest at their respective consecrations: Dominus meus et Deus Meus, My Lord and my God.
It is, of course, quite appropriate that we utter the words of Saint Thomas as the greatest miracle on earth takes place day in and day out, the Transubstantiation of the elements of this earth into the very Body. Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made Man in Our Lady's virginal and immaculate womb. Saint Thomas did not believe that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ had risen from the dead on Easter Sunday until he had put his fingers in the nail prints on Our Lord's hands and feet and pressed his hand in Our Lord's wounded side. It was then that He uttered the words that we ourselves during the Consecrations of the Host and Chalice, Dominus meus et Deus Meus. Saint Thomas had seen and believed. We see Our Lord only under the appearance of the elements of the earth, believing by Faith that He is indeed present in every particle of the Host and every drop of the wine that have been miraculously Transubstantiated into Himself. Saint Thomas thus plays a vital role each time we assist at Holy Mass.
Although Saint Thomas doubted Our Lord's Resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday, he became a bold proclaimer of the Gospel of His Divine Master once the God the Holy Ghost descended in tongues of flame upon him and the other Apostles and our dear Blessed Mother on Pentecost Sunday in the same Upper Room in Jerusalem where he had been ordained to the fullness of the priesthood, the episcopate. Having pressed his flesh into the Flesh of Our Lord, Saint Thomas enfleshed Our Lord every time he offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass himself, receiving the unmerited privilege of not only touching Our Lord anew but being fed by Him to nourish his soul unto eternity. Having doubted Our Lord's Resurrection, Saint Thomas became the instrument by which many thousands upon thousands of others would come to believe in Him without having seen Him in the flesh themselves.
The force of Saint Thomas's preaching, which included his own recounting of his initial disbelief in Our Lord's Easter victory over sin and eternal death that He had won on the Holy Cross on Good Friday, was such that pagan peoples in lands far distant from his native Galilee begged him to baptize them with urgency. Yes, you see, Saint Thomas, one of the first twelve bishops of the Catholic Church, was in the business of proselytizing unbelievers and converting them to be Catholics.
Saint Thomas did not want anyone on earth to persist in the unbelief that had manifested itself in his own life when he heard the other Apostles speaking about Our Lord's Resurrection. He wanted everyone to have belief in and access to the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament so that they could be sharers in eternal glory in Heaven. He wanted everyone to have their mortal sins forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance, which was instituted by Our Lord at the moment that Saint Thomas was absent from the place where the other Apostles were hiding for fear of the Jews. He wanted to make sure that He took seriously Our Lord's parting words before He Ascended to the Father's right hand in glory: to go and to preach the Gospel everywhere, baptizing all men in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." He worked many miracles in his lifetime. He has worked them ever since, including stopping the floodwaters of the tsunami last year at the steps of the church in India that bears his name and is thus under his holy patronage. The "Thomas" Catholics in India trace their lineage directly to the Apostle himself.
The "doubting Thomas" became a "twin" of Christ. That is, Saint Thomas the Apostle, to whom I pray every day as the first in the line of Saint Thomases I count as my patrons (Saints Thomas a Becket, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas More, and Thomas Villanova are the others), sought to be like Our Lord in every way imaginable. A venerable Catholic priest who bore his name nearly fourteen centuries later, Thomas a Kempis, wrote his incomparable Imitation of Christ to explain how we must imitate Our Lord in every way at all times, especially in the smallest of things. Our Lord's "twin," Saint Thomas the Apostle, fully imitated Our Lord to the point of his being immolated in India because he dared to convert souls to the true Faith. We must, therefore, pray to Saint Thomas the Apostle so that he will help us to be "twins," if you will, of Our Lord, willing to die to self to such an extent that we will have the same apostolic zeal for souls as he did as he traversed to distant lands to speak of the Holy Name of Jesus Christ no matter what it might cost him, including his life.
Jacobus de Voragine's The Golden Legend tells of the episode that ultimately won Saint Thomas the Apostle the crown of holy martyrdom:
Next Thomas went to Upper India and gained fame by his many miracles. He brought the light of faith to Syntice, who was a friend of Migdomia, the wife of Carisius, a cousin of the king. Migdomia asked Syntice: "Do you think I might see the apostle? Then, taking her friend's advice, she put off her rich garments and mingled with the poor women who were hearing the apostle's preaching. Thomas began to expound upon the misery of this life and said, among other things: "This is indeed a miserable life, subject to all sorts of misfortune, and so fleeting that when one things one has it well in hand, it slips away and is gone." Then he exhorted his hearers to receive the word of God gladly and offered four reasons, comparing the word to four kinds of things: to an eye-salve, because it enlightens the eyes of our intellect; to a potion, for it purifies and cleanses our will of all carnal love; to a plaster, because it heals the wounds of our sins; and to food, because it delights us with the love of the things of heaven. And just as these things can do no good to the ailing person unless he uses them well, so the word of God cannot benefit the ailing soul unless it is heard devoutly. Migdomia believed the apostles's preaching and thereafter shunned her husband's bed with horror. At this Carisius complained to the king and had Thomas thrown into prison. Migdomia visited him there and implored him to pardon her for being the cause of his plight; but he consoled her kindly and said that he was happy to bear all his suffering. Then Carisius asked the king to send the queen, his wife's sister, to his wife, hoping that she might bring Migdomia back to him. But the queen, carrying her mission, was converted by the very one she sought to lead astray; and seeing the great miracles the apostle performed, she said: "Those who refuse to believe so many signs and works are damned by God!" Meanwhile Thomas spoke briefly to all present on three points: they should love the Church, honor the priests, and come together gladly to hear the word of God.
When the queen returned home, the king asked her: "What kept you away so long?" The queen's answer was: "I thought Migdomia was stupid, but on the contrary she is very wise. She led me to the apostle of God and let me learn the way of truth. The really stupid ones are those will not believe in Christ!" And from then on she refused to lie with her husband. The king, dumbfounded, said to his brother-in-law: "I tried to get your wife back for you, and instead I have lost my own; she treats me worse that yours treats you!"
The king ordered the apostle to be brought before him, hands bound, and commanded him to counsel the wives to return to their husbands. The apostle proceeded to prove to the king, by three examples--a king, a tower, a spring of water--that as long as these men persisted in their error, the women must not do as commanded. "You," he said, "being a king, want no dirty servants around you, but only clean servingmen and handmaids. How much more surely should you believe that God loves chaste, clean servants? Am I wrong in preaching that God loves in his servants what you love in yours? I have raised a high tower, and you tell me, the builder, to tear it down? I have dug a deep well and brought up a flowing spring, and you tell me to shut it off?" (Archbishop Jacobus de Voragine, O.P., The Golden Legend.)
Saint Thomas was then subjected to a series of attempts to torture him, each of which was thwarted miraculously, before he was slain with a sword. He had given his life for the One Whose Resurrection he had initially doubted. His own disbelief became the cause of the belief of many in his own day and from his own day to our own day.
The incident that led up to Saint Thomas the Apostle's martyrdom contains a line from the queen who had tried to take her friend Migdomia out of the Faith: "The really stupid ones are those who will not believe in Christ!"
Yes, those who refuse to believe in Christ are the really stupid ones yet today. And to their ranks must be added those who say they believe in Our Lord but who don't trust His ineffable power enough to proclaim His Holy Name publicly or to make public advertence to the simple fact that every single element of human life, both individually and socially, must be completely and totally subordinated to the Deposit of Faith He has entrusted solely to the Catholic Church. To believe in Our Lord is to be as fearless before kings and potentates and, yes, even before television and radio talk show hosts, in professing unapologetically the Catholic Faith as was Saint Thomas before the king who ordered his execution.
Christmas Day is but four days away now. Apart from Our Lady and Saint Joseph, there were only a handful of shepherds and the Three Kings from the East who were given by God to know from angels the news of the Birth of the Saviour, Whose Sacred Divinity lay hidden beneath the bright, radiant beams emanating from His Holy Face. It took Faith to see that the newborn Babe in Bethlehem was God Incarnate. It takes Faith today to see Him in His Real Presence. It was that same Catholic Faith that prompted the one who doubted, Saint Thomas the Apostle, who baptized the Three Kings with his own hands, to risk all to remain faithful to the point of his dying breath.
May we, keeping company with Our Lady and beseeching her chaste spouse, Saint Joseph, in these final four days before Christmas, ever imitate the example of the "twin" of the Christ-Child, Saint Thomas the Apostle, by bringing the truths of the true Faith into the souls of the unbelievers who are lost in a world of doubt, misery, confusion, darkness, despair, and stupidity precisely because they do not believe in the Babe of Bethlehem as He has revealed Himself through the Catholic Church, especially by means of praying our Rosaries for such souls to convert.
To Saint Thomas the Apostle we pray, "I believe. Increase my Faith."
With Saint Thomas the Apostle we say, "Dominus meus et Deus Meus." Help us to spread belief in and devotion to Our Lord in His Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Help us to plant the seeds for the Catholicization of this country and the world.
Our Lady, Mother of God, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, Patron of Departing Souls, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Thomas the Apostle, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?