Dispelling Doubts – Deepening Your Understanding
May 21, 2023
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18–20
These are the parting and final words our Lord spoke while on earth. As soon as He spoke them He ascended into Heaven to remain with His Father forever, preparing a place for us so that we could join Him one day. Never again on earth would the disciples hear Jesus speak to them or see Him in physical form. Though He would soon send the Holy Spirit upon them and speak clearly to them interiorly through prayer, they would not encounter His audible voice and physical presence once again until Heaven.
Just prior to the passage quoted above, we read that the disciples did two things. One was ideal; the other was not. We read: “When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.” Of course, the fact that they worshiped Him is ideal, but the fact that they doubted is somewhat shocking and disappointing. After all that they went through with our Lord, after all they witnessed and heard, they still doubted. They witnessed Jesus cure leprosy, restore sight to the blind, heal the crippled, preach with a new authority, convert sinners, raise the dead and even rise from the dead Himself. And after all of this, they still had doubts.
Perhaps their doubts are recorded in this final encounter with our earthly Lord because it reveals to us our own ongoing doubts. Perhaps the real doubters are not only the disciples but also each one of us.
When you look into your own conscience, what do you see? Do you see a person with perfect faith and trust in God? Or do you see a person who seeks to worship God but also struggles with doubts? A doubt is a lack of faith. It is different from a difficulty, an uncertainty, or a confusion. A doubt is an action by which we positively make the choice to start down the path of disbelief. It’s more than a weakness; it’s a choice and not a good one.
The good news is that these doubting disciples eventually received something that eliminated every doubt from their minds. They received the Holy Spirit, and this gift of God began to dispel every temptation to doubt as they received the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. In particular, the gifts of Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge would deepen their faith in God and enable them to both worship and believe.
As we celebrate the Ascension of our Lord, reflect, today, upon the image of these disciples worshiping God and doubting at the same time. If this image strikes a chord within you, then pay attention to it. It is good to worship God, but it is also good to humbly admit where you lack perfect faith. Where you see this lack of faith, hold onto the hope that, just like these disciples, you will receive the full outpouring of the promised Holy Spirit in your life so that every doubt will be dispelled and you will receive true Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge in their fullness.
My Ascended Lord, You entered the glories of Heaven, body and soul, as Your disciples looked on. They worshiped You but also struggled with doubts. Help me to also worship You with my whole being. As I do, reveal to me my lack of faith and trust in You and dispel these sins by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, I trust in You.