Meditation 2: Where are You, Jesus, in this Storm?

A Meditation Novena in the Footsteps of St. Thérèse

written by Fr. Todd Arsenault, LC

Meditation 2:
Where are you, Jesus, in this storm?

When I was 5 years old while still living in Yarmouth, we experienced a terrible windstorm on Groundhog Day or, for us Catholics, the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple! It struck abruptly one afternoon coupled with freezing rain and I remember my mother taking us one by one from the mall to the car so that we wouldn’t fall down or get blown away! Dad was away for an undercover police investigation that week. At home, the windstorm never let up with winds gusting to 160 km/h (100 mph). It was dark and scary, and the living room window looked like it was bending under the pressure and might explode. The power was out; we were all scared; we missed Dad.

Life can be like this, we can feel scared, confused, alone, and distant from God. Where are you, Lord, in all of this? Have you turned your face from me? Maybe the Little Flower might be able to shed light on this as she recounts her storm regarding her vocation.

 St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the Little Flower, wrote the following about her profession of vows on September 8, 1890:

“The beautiful day of my wedding finally arrived. It was without a single cloud; however, the preceding evening a storm arose within my soul the like of which I’d never seen before. Not a single doubt concerning my vocation had ever entered my mind until then, and it evidently was necessary that I experience this trial. In the evening, while making the Way of the Cross after Matins, my vocation appeared to me as a dream, a chimera. I found life in Carmel to be very beautiful, but the devil inspired me with the assurance that it wasn’t for me and that I was misleading my Superiors by advancing on this way to which I wasn’t called. The darkness was so great that I could see and understand one thing only: I didn’t have a vocation. Ah! how can I possibly describe the anguish in my soul? It appeared to me (and this is an absurdity which shows it was a temptation from the devil) that if I were to tell my Novice Mistress about these fears, she would prevent me from pronouncing my Vows. And still I wanted to do God’s will and return to the world rather than remain in Carmel and do my own will. I made the Mistress come out of the choir and, filled with confusion, I told her the state of my soul. Fortunately, she saw things much clearer than I did, and she completely reassured me. The act of humility I had just performed put the devil to flight since he had perhaps thought that I would not dare admit my temptation. My doubts left me completely as soon as I finished speaking…”

Scripture passage for reflection: John 20:11-18 (Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene)

Mary Magdalene weeps not knowing where Jesus is. She thinks she needs him physically like before and she still thinks he is dead. She doesn’t realize he is alive. Her life was upside down and all seemed lost. Have I ever noticed in my life that I am looking for Christ in the wrong way or in the wrong place? How often we look for him outside ourselves when the place to begin is within our hearts!

Jesus is always with us. Mary Magdalene is overjoyed to hear her name said by Jesus and her whole demeanor changes. St. Thérèse had a struggle and a temptation to doubt her calling yet going to her novice mistress and her Mother Superior, both Christ’s representatives to her, totally smoothed things over once she verbalized the storm inside. Do I make sure to speak about the storms inside my heart promptly with God’s representative(s) for me with faith and trust?

When we make the storm known to God’s representatives, we disarm the devil and gain peace and joy. With gratitude, reflect on some personal examples.

Colloquy: Lord, the storms of life come very often out of nowhere and strike me. Often, I feel caught off guard, but I know that you are with me to guide me even though it is at times hard to see during the storm and I feel alone or fearful. I know that if I keep my eyes and heart centered on you and build our relationship on solid rock, no matter what storm comes my way, I will not lose sight of you or be deceived by the devil. Amen.

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