I also savored the sensory splendor of Catholicism — genuflecting as a sign of reverence, poignant prayers chanted like fine poetry, bells pealing at the most sacred moment of Mass.
Above all, I exulted that my life fit into a more intricate plan than my limited human mind could ever craft. Still, when my husband died, I became so confused that my faith started faltering.
Yes, I still went to Mass — in fact, I started going daily — pored over Scripture and prayed more than ever before. But demonic doubts were stalking me and trying to rip apart the fabric of my faith.
Did I truly believe Jesus was God’s only son who rose from the dead? And did I believe my husband was in another resplendent realm — or had he ceased existing when his heart stopped? And most of all, could I cling to the hope that we would meet again one day?
Throughout the crisis, I could my envision my husband advising, “You have to lean on your faith!” — but the crux of the matter was whether doubt and faith can coexist.
The answer came from Scripture, where I encountered Peter walking toward Jesus through a turbulent sea — and sinking as his faith wavered. I also met the infamous doubting Thomas, who stubbornly sought sensory proof of the Resurrection.
Most compelling was the desperate father in Mark’s Gospel, whose son had been ensnared by a demon since infancy.
The man begged Jesus for help, and the answer came swiftly: “If you can believe, all things are possible to the man of faith.”
For people like me who sometimes are assailed by doubts, the man’s reply is a revelation: “I do believe; help my unbelief.”
You see, that humble confession — which author Flannery O’Connor called the “most natural and most human and most agonizing prayer” in the Gospels — spurred Jesus to heal the son.
In my come-to-Jesus meeting, I answered each question with “yes,” but if future doubts stalk me, I will, like St. Peter, move toward the light of Christ — and trust that when I falter, his hand will steady me.