Meditation 8: Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock

A Meditation Novena in the Footsteps of St. Thérèse

written by Fr. Todd Arsenault, LC

Meditation 8:
Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock

In a recent homily, Fr. Jim shared a story about a priest friend who had been a formator for seminarians at a major seminary spanning over 8 years. He said it was a challenging mission because his friend spent much of his day in his office attending the seminarians to answer their daily questions, help with practical needs and speak about their personal and community seminary formation program. It was mentally and spiritually draining at times, and thus the temptation to perhaps trivialize these needs and discussions could easily have crept in! It so happened that last summer this friend got reassigned to a new mission elsewhere. When Fr. Jim visited the major seminary, he was given his friend’s old office. As he sat at the desk pondering things, something above the office doorway caught his eye. It was a verse from the Book of Revelation 3:20 that read: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” Fr. Jim now understood how his friend was able to maintain his supernatural focus in dealing with seminarians day in and day out for those 8 years. He discovered and served Jesus in each of them, seeing that his contribution to their preparation was key to their priestly life as a whole!

How easy it is in life to trivialize things and lose focus! How easy it is to even lose sight of the spiritual realities and fall into routine and boredom! If we don’t foster a supernatural spirit and outlook as Fr. Jim’s friend did, we run the risk of losing sight of Jesus who presents himself to us in others in a variety of ways. How important it is to remember the words of Jesus: when you did it to the least of these, you did it to me!

Scripture passages for reflection: Matthew 25:40-45 and Revelation 3:20

Jesus identifies himself with each one of us. The mystery of the Incarnation allows Our Lord to relate to us through the sharing of our human nature. Jesus came to save us body and soul and he wants us to see him in each other. How do I understand this and how do I live this? Can I live it more intentionally? How?

St. Thérèse had an experience in the convent with a sister with whom she was assigned to cleaning cloths and who was very rough and messy She recounts it in this way: “Another time, I was in the laundry doing the washing in front of a Sister who was throwing dirty water into my face every time she lifted the handkerchiefs to her bench; my first reaction was to draw back and wipe my face to show the Sister who was sprinkling me that she would do me a favor to be more careful. But I immediately thought I would be very foolish to refuse these treasures which were being given to me so generously, and I took care not to show my struggle.”

We see how supernatural St. Thérèse is as she realizes that the Lord is offering her a treasure of graces through suffering in a mysterious and hidden way. In my life, do I discover Christ present in sufferings and inconveniences? How can I foster a more supernatural spirit in dealing with trials?

Often in our lives, Jesus comes to us in a hidden way, a way that even seems annoying initially, and we have a choice to make. As Christians, the Lord is calling us to transform our way of seeing things in our life: people we meet or know that rub us the wrong way, family friction and disagreements, inconveniences, career or financial setbacks, and times of dryness in prayer. Examine your disposition in the face of adversity. What calls you to supernatural faith and charity? Write down your challenges and how the Lord is inviting you to grow.

Colloquy:  Most Loving Jesus, you allow me to experience many things in my life even great inconveniences and sufferings. Nothing happens without you allowing it and you never leave me orphaned. I sincerely believe that! Help me Lord to transform all situations into opportunities of grace to be transformed in heart and mind, to be more like you in living your life among us, and faithfully and lovingly embracing the will of the Father! Amen.

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