On the Way to Emmaus

Caryll Houselander once wrote,

It seems that this is Christ's favorite way of being recognized, that He prefers to be known, not by His own human features, but by the quickening of His own life in the heart, which is the response to His coming. When John recognized Him, he was hidden in his mother's womb. After the Resurrection He was known, not by his familiar features, but by the love in Magdalene's heart, the fire in the hearts of the travelers to Emmaus, and the wound in His own heart handled by Thomas.

Yes, we can know Christ through the meditation of theological truths, the unpacking of Sacred Scripture, and the sacraments, just to name a few.  But when our hearts are moved in a particular way to the good—which is to say, to God—then we are in the midst of knowing Christ. 

Our hearts do not act randomly.  When we feel compelled to do something charitable and generous, or when we feel compelled to turn to a higher power in a particular circumstance, Jesus is present to us. 

The disciples on the Road to Emmaus realized they were in Christ's midst when they noticed their hearts burning within them on the way (cf. Luke 24:32).  Over this past month with the Coronavirus, we too similarly could reflect back and notice our hearts burning within us at times.  That was God in us.  We were experiencing Jesus.

If one looks closely at Robert Zund's The Way to Emmaus (Kunstmuseum: St. Gallen, Switzerland, 1877), not only are the disciples and Christ in a forest preserve of sorts, they are enclosed in a heart.  The road they are advancing on, which we are on too, goes deeper into the heart of Christ.

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