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What is the Thunder?

If Christ saw Satan fall like lightning, who heard the thunder?

The University of Notre Dame publishes a daily reflection on the Gospel reading for the day. Today’s is by me! You can read it here or below:

Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary

LK 10:17-24

The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!”

He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to the childlike; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”


Chris Damian ‘13

If Christ saw Satan fall like lightning, who heard the thunder? And if Satan is the lightning, what is the thunder? Is the thunder the chaos of some heavenly battle? The thud of an apple dropping into the hand of Eve? The accusatory claims of her husband?

Or am I the thunder? Does the thunder roll from the mouth of every sinner? Can you hear the thunder in the blast of a gun, in the clicking of forceps, in the tap of computer keys? The thunder crashes. It shakes the earth for a moment and dissipates.

But the Holy Spirit moves as the wind, as the flapping of a dove’s wings, as lapping tongues of fire. We hear the thunder when it crashes upon us. But we only hear the wind when we crawl like children on our hands and knees with that heavy wooden key to the entrance of the house. We must crack open the massive door to the unknown outside and press our ears against the broken seal. Satan will echo in the clicking and the tapping and the crashing things. But, if we listen closely, our Father whistles softly as the breeze.

Our Father saturates the stillness, and the Spirit hovers in the wind. Christ bids us no longer fear the thunder. As the thunder shakes the earth, the Spirit whips about us. Our Father covers all. The Spirit shakes the autumn apple from its tree, sponsors the reverberations of our voice, guides the arc of every shot, parts for the moving of our hands, and bears the sound of every tapping fingertip into eternity.

We know not how or why. We simply know that where Satan has fallen, our Father comes to name us, Christ comes to save us, and the Spirit comes to claim us.

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