Meditation 3: Jesus, Hidden from our Eyes

A Meditation Novena in the Footsteps of St. Thérèse

written by Fr. Todd Arsenault, LC

Meditation 3:
Jesus, Hidden from our Eyes

“St. Paul says that Christ is being brought to fulfillment in his Church and that all of us contribute to this fulfillment, and thus he achieves the fullness of life, that is, the mystical stature that he has in his mystical body, which will reach completion only on judgment day. In another place, Paul says: I complete in my own flesh what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ. This is the plan by which the Son of God completes and fulfills in us all the various stages and mysteries. He desires us to perfect the mystery of his Incarnation and birth by forming himself in us and being reborn in our souls through the blessed sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist. He fulfills his hidden life in us, hidden with him in God.”

(Excerpt from the treatise of St. John Eudes on the Kingdom of Jesus: The mystery of Christ in us and in the Church)

There is something very powerful about assisting at the sacrament of Baptism and worshiping at Holy Mass or adoration. Why? We see many gestures, solemn acts, and words performed but with the naked eye, Jesus remains hidden from the physical sight. Faith is required to bring it alive. God in his wisdom works behind the scenes in the depths of our being where often we don’t always take time to really examine and heal. He awaits his moment and then all his power comes forth in the transformation of our lives in key moments when we are properly disposed to accept and receive it.

Scripture passage for reflection: Matthew 8:23-27 (Jesus asleep in the boat)

We don’t often feel anything, see anything, or sometimes even think Jesus is very interested in us even when we are praying or celebrating the sacraments. These human emotions can sometimes plague us and we are tempted to cry out to the sleeping Lord: “Don’t you care… Save us?” Do I find myself sometimes getting desperate when it seems like I’m not getting “anything out of it”? How can I properly channel this emotion based on the Scripture passage?

St. Thérèse of Lisieux wrote about her profession of vows: I should have spoken to you about the retreat preceding my Profession, dear Mother, before speaking about the trial I have mentioned; it was far from bringing me any consolations since the most absolute aridity and almost total abandonment were my lot. Jesus was asleep as usual in my little boat; ah! I see very well how rarely souls allow him to sleep peacefully within them. Jesus is so fatigued with always having to take the initiative and to attend to others that he hastens to take advantage of the repose I offer to him. He will undoubtedly awaken before my great eternal retreat, but instead of being troubled about it this only gives me extreme pleasure.

What do you see in Thérèse’s attitude and disposition of soul? She says to her Mother Superior that she feels no consolations, that Jesus sleeps most of the time in her, but that she isn’t troubled by this. What is allowing her to see past the lack of consolations and be pleased to simply have Jesus choose to rest in her? What kind of love is she demonstrating that is very profound? What is God saying to me?

Thérèse has hope and trust in the Lord and that prevents her from self-pity. How can I grow in hope and trust? Do I sometimes misread Jesus’ apparent sleeping inside me? How can I spiritually and emotionally mature so as to read these experiences correctly and calmly?

Colloquy: Jesus, increase in my heart faith, hope, and love, especially in the sacraments. Keep my spirits calm so as not to panic in the face of spiritual darkness. Enable me to understand your pedagogy with me to mature in my knowledge and adherence to your most Divine Will and the work you wish to accomplish in and through me. Amen.

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