A Sonnet for St. Thomas the Apostle

On July the 3rd we celebrate the feast day of St. Thomas the Apostle, so-called’doubting’ Thomas, though really he should be caled ‘Courageous Thomas’, ‘Tenacious Thomas’, ‘Truthful Thomas’! Either way, thank goodness for Thomas, the one disciple who had the courage to say what everyone else was thinking but didn’t dare say, the courage to ask the awkward questions that drew from Jesus some of the most beautiful and profoundly comforting of all his sayings. “We don’t know where you’re going, how can we know the way”? asked Thomas, and because he had the courage to confess his ignorance, we were given that beautiful saying “I am the way the Truth and the Life” Here is the poem I have written for St. Thomas, which is part of my sequence Sounding the Seasons, to be published by Canterbury Press this December. I am grateful to Margot Krebs Neale for the thought-provoking image above, you can hear the poem by clicking on the ‘play’ button below or on the title of the poem and you can hear a  sermon i preached about  St.Thomas on my podcast site by clicking here: Touching The Wounds

St. Thomas the Apostle


“We do not know… how can we know the way?”

Courageous master of the awkward question,

You spoke the words the others dared not say

And cut through their evasion and abstraction.

Oh doubting Thomas, father of my faith,

You put your finger on the nub of things

We cannot love some disembodied wraith,

But flesh and blood must be our king of kings.

Your teaching is to touch, embrace, anoint,

Feel after Him and find Him in the flesh.

Because He loved your awkward counter-point

The Word has heard and granted you your wish.

Oh place my hands with yours, help me divine

The wounded God whose wounds are healing mine.


oh place my hands with yours, help me divine
the wounded God whose wounds are healing mine


Filed under christianity, literature, St. Edward's

17 responses to “A Sonnet for St. Thomas the Apostle

  1. Lia

    Utterly beautiful and poignant, Malcolm.

  2. Really, really brilliant! Poor Thomas gets such a bad rap. Thanks for this 🙂

  3. I’ve always regarded Thomas as the patron saint of Unitarians 🙂

    Given the interpretation that some people put on “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”, I don’t think it is particularly comforting.

    • malcolmguite

      Yes I agree with you about some people’s interpretations but fortunately I am asked to put my trust in Jesus’s beautiful and inclusive words not in other people’s narrow and uncharitable interpretations of them! 🙂

  4. “But flesh and blood must be our king of kings” – great line Malcolm.

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  7. Matthew

    Thanks Malcom,
    In some ways St Thomas needs to be redeemed by the Church, as does the value of doubt. Thomas’s ‘doubts’ are sometimes interpreted as being sinful, rather than points in a process of coming to put his trust in Jesus.
    I was interested to notice that when Thomas asks his ‘awkward questions’ in Chapters 14 & 20 Jesus does speak but his words are an invitation to draw closer to him. I always imagine Jesus giving his response to Thomas with a twinkle in his eye.
    In many ways Thomas’ ‘doubts’ are part of his own death and resurrection in Christ – he cannot behold the risen Lord until he asks the questions or speaks the words he really wants to voice, then he can move to the place of ‘My Lord and my God’.

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  9. I love publishing your poetry on feast days for the new benedictine community and la communidad de san bonifacio cdmx.
    Keep inspiring!
    Do you have one for St Benedict?
    Coming up soon!

    Vincent Schwahn osb

  10. Craig Zeichner

    The Rector of my church–Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue–read your beautiful sonnet during his sermon during today’s virtual service. Thank you so much, this pierced my heart!

  11. Margaret

    Our Dean Joe of ST Edmundsbury Cathedral also shared your sonnet for the Feast of St Thomas with us during Evening Prayers tonight. Your thoughts are very helpful. Thank you.

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