Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:24-28
I hope you all can bear with me, as this story is kind of long, but I believe I am meant to tell it. Before I begin I want to remind you that when I was in Medjugorje the Lord told me to “pay attention to the dogs.” I never thought the Lord may actually have meant my own dog.
4 ½ years ago we decided to get a dog for the children. I prayed ardently because I wanted the Lord to be involved in all of my decisions, especially those that change the household. I told the Lord, I am not picking this dog, I leave it entirely to you and trust you wholeheartedly to pick this animal out for my family.
I went to the rescue. There were tons of German Shepherds. But there was a pen with two small dogs in it. One black, the other white, they were sisters. The rescue told me these two dogs were terrified of people and had been severely neglected and were found starving at a puppy mill. They were 6 months old.
I went in the pen, said a prayer, and squatted down like a baseball catcher in the pen, both dogs on the far side away from me. I extended my hands outward.
Then the white dog turned towards me. She walked over and she licked my hand. The lady at the rescue was stunned. She said the dog had not gone near any person since they had rescued them. She couldn’t believe she licked me.
I was sold that this was the dog God picked out for me and my family. I honestly thought at the time that God had a plan that included this dog and one day in the years ahead I would know why he picked this particular dog for me.
In the first three years we had her she was terrified of everyone but my family. She grew to be a medium sized dog, but she would cower in the corner and bark like crazy if people came over. She clung to me. THIS BECAME MY DOG. More than the kids dog. There was only one stranger to her she did not bark at but that story is for another time.
Over this past year she slowly stopped being quite so afraid. She was always a barker, but she started to come out of her shell and interact with other people.
Her barking was scary sounding but her fear of people had always kept her at bay.
Last Friday morning I got up, prayed in my peaceful place, offered the sufferings and joys of my day for Mary to dispense as she sees fit. I got in my car to go to Mass.
I arrived in plenty of time for Mass, but my mom texted me that my dad was on his way to the hospital. I left before Mass started to go to the hospital.
I spent the morning with my dad at the hospital (he is now fine), but let’s just say it was emotional.
I came home.
I prayed a Rosary.
Afterwards I went to go out front and water my flowers. My neighbor had her baby in her stroller and was walking up the street.
My dog saw her, and slipped through the crack in the door because I was watering the flowers. She ran up to my neighbor and nipped her in the back of her calf. She drew blood.
I couldn’t believe she bit her. I followed protocol and I called Animal Control and my dog is in quarantine and my husband and I now have to decide what to do with her. Please pray for us.
It might sound ridiculous but this really shook me and threw me for a loop.
I couldn’t understand why God would give me a dog only to have this happen where I would be put in a position to chose between trying to decide the fate of this animal I love, and trying to protect people from harm, who I am compelled to love more than an animal. I felt it was cruel and there was a moment I was mad at God. And if I am honest, there was a moment I felt that THIS DOG thing was going to make me lose my faith…. That I was just crazy and God never actually spoke to me about the dog or about anything. God didn’t pick a dog out for me. I am just a mad woman. I had a surge of the worst anxiety I have had in awhile, and I physically found it hard to breathe. I cried harder than I have ever cried since Veronica’s murder. I know this may sound stupid to many of you that have way bigger struggles, but I am just relaying the thoughts and feelings.
I knew interiorly that all these feelings were exactly what the devil wanted me to feel, so I pushed past them, turning back to God in prayer.
That was one week ago.
I was driving to first Friday Mass this morning, not thinking about the dog incident, but instead intent on a project my friend Ashley and I are working on.
After communion at Mass I knelt down to pray and I was asking about the project…but God had other plans for me and out of left field he slammed me with the weight of Saint Thomas…. Here is what he said;
You have asked me about your dog and why I would allow this to happen? I am showing you Saint Thomas and allowing you to feel what he felt. His entire world had crumbled. He all but unbelieved in me. Even after the Resurrection he did not believe the witness of his friends. Thomas felt what atheism is. Ask yourself why, why he was allowed to see me after his incredible doubt? It is because of his connection to the others, and because of their prayer for him. My Mystical Body working as it should. When you pray for others you surround them in the Mother’s Mantle. Thomas did not understand the larger plan. He had a construct in his head of what it would all look like. And when his construct crumbled so did his belief. Pay attention to the dogs and don’t construct in your head what my plan will be, for when you lose control, you must know who I AM. I AM showing you the Father, and what he looks like surpasses understanding. I AM YOUR LORD AND YOUR GOD. It strikes silent the most intellectual. I AM only one WORD. The name above all names. The world may seem to be crumbling around you, but I AM RESURRECTION. I AM PERFECT LOVE. DO NOT DOUBT IT.
John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30
– Your Divine Spouse
I cannot explain the weight of what Thomas felt. And how I knew I had looked at what happened with my dog totally wrong, having in my head a picture of perfection that doesn’t belong to God.
I went to confession after Mass and I explained to the Priest my doubt, my unbelief because of the dog, and how I had entertained the thoughts too long. He gave me my penance, I could not even make it through the Act of Contrition. The tears just kept coming. I had to keep pausing. He probably thinks I am nuts.
Later I spoke to my friend Ashley about what happened. I spoke of how we always look at John or Peter… but never really Thomas. Ashley pondered what made John different from the rest. Ashley said she doesn’t think John ran away before coming back to stand at the Cross. She thinks when they came to arrest Jesus that he left to get Mary, because John had been listening and receiving, and he knew not to run because he was resting in the bosom of the Lord. He went to get God’s Mother.
And I knew that God is desperately trying to bring the rest of us there to that place of trust. But along the way we get thrown off track by the enemy, who has trained us how to think. But the Lord always gives us a way back. In his immense love and mercy, even when we doubt like Thomas, he has a way to bring us in. Through prayer, the Sacraments and His Mystical Body, God is pouring grace out upon us. Don’t ever forget that.