Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Twin of the Lord

Holy Thomas
Apostle, Martyr, and Guide to Gnosis

Today is both the Winter Solstice and the Day of the Holy Thomas 'the Twin.' Having the day of Thomas at this time makes sense in two different ways. First, Christmas is, essentially, a solstice holiday. The date having been chosen as the feast of Sol Invictus, 'The Invincible Sun.' So named for the Sun's triumph over the darkness. As Thomas is the Twin of the Lord, his day occurs on the actual solstice, just as our Lord's birthday occurs on the date upon which the solstice was anciently celebrated. There is also a contrast in this, as “the day of” indicates the day that someone died. So, the death of Thomas and the birth of our Lord are also juxtaposed, like the death of the old year/sun and the birth of the new year/sun. Thomas is the twin, the mirror image, after all.

The other way in which celebrating Thomas today is deeply appropriate, is the story that comes to us from the Acts of Thomas. Thomas is imprisoned before his execution, the other inmates entreat him to teach them, so he tells them the story of the Pearl and the Robe of Glory. The beautiful story of our journey: from our true home into the world, through forgetfulness to anamnesis—in order to obtain the Pearl and return. In the darkness of the world, be it in the darkest prison, or the longest night, the light shines forth.

In the story, when the hero is lost in forgetfulness, a letter is sent that is also an eagle. When the letter/eagle arrives, the hero knows the words of the letter to be true, because they are also written in his heart—Gnosis Kardias.

Let us reflect upon the Holy Thomas, who through his Gnosis came to be called the Twin of the Lord. For this is the deepest truth and highest mystery—we are all such twins in our truest nature, and through living the path of Gnosis we may become so, bit by bit, in our lives as well.

Readings of the day.

The Hymn of the Pearl.

The Gospel of Thomas.

No comments: