Sunday, May 8, 2011

On Emmaus

At the end of that Easter day, the two disciples reached Emmaus without realizing that the Lord Jesus has been walking with them all along. They were forlorn because of the strange events that took place in Jerusalem: the Crucifixion of Jesus and stories of his missing body. They were sad because they were slow to believe that all these happened in order to fulfill what the Scriptures say about the need for the Christ to suffer and die in order to enter into his glory. Although they did not recognize their risen Lord, “they felt their hearts burning within them (cf. v. 32) as he spoke to them and ‘explained’ the Scriptures. The light of the Word unlocked the hardness of their hearts and ‘opened their eyes’ (cf. v. 31). Amid the shadows of the passing day and the darkness that clouded their spirit, the Wayfarer brought a ray of light which rekindled their hope and led their hearts to yearn for the fullness of light. ‘Stay with us’, they pleaded. And he agreed. Soon afterwards, Jesus' face would disappear, yet the Master would ‘stay’ with them, hidden in the ‘breaking of the bread’ which had opened their eyes to recognize him.” (John Paul II, Mane Nobiscum Domine, 1.)

Like the disciples, we find ourselves forlorn. Our bitter disappointments and problems hinder us from recognizing Him who walks along our way. We imagine ourselves to be abandoned and so we despair. But it is a great mistake to think that the Lord has abandoned us. “Amid our questions and difficulties, and even our bitter disappointments, the divine Wayfarer continues to walk at our side, opening to us the Scriptures and leading us to a deeper understanding of the mysteries of God. When we meet him fully, we will pass from the light of the Word to the light streaming from the ‘Bread of life’, the supreme fulfillment of his promise to ‘be with us always, to the end of the age’ (cf. Mt 28:20).” (Mane Nobiscum Domine, 2.)

The Risen Lord meets us along the road of life. Whenever the Scriptures are read to us, the Lord Jesus speaks with us. Whenever the Eucharist is broken for us, he gives himself to us as food and drink so that we may abide in him and he in us. If only we recognize and receive often his real presence in the Eucharist, we will surely find comfort and strength in him who stays with us, hidden in the breaking of bread.

Padre Pio suffered for 50 years the pain of Christ as he bore on his own flesh the wounds of the Savior. His pain was not only physical. It was likewise spiritual as in his soul he experienced the desolation of Christ on the Cross. He suffered for 50 long years and he found constant consolation in the Eucharist. Let us conclude our meditation with his prayer to Jesus:

Prayer of Padre Pio

Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You. You know how easily I abandon You.

Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, that I may not fall so often.

Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life, and without You, I am without fervor.

Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light, and without You, I am in darkness.

Stay with me, Lord, to show me Your will.

Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your voice and follow You.

Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You very much, and always be in Your company.

Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You.

Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is, I wish it to be a place of consolation for You, a nest of Love.

Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes, death, judgement, eternity approaches. It is necessary to renew my strength, so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need You. It is getting late and death approaches. I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows. O how I need You, my Jesus, in this night of exile!

Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all its dangers, I need You.

Let me recognize You as Your disciples did at the breaking of bread, so that the Eucharistic Communion be the light which disperses the darkness, the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart.

Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to You, if not by Communion, at least by grace and love.

Stay with me, Jesus, I do not ask for divine consolation, because I do not merit it, but, the gift of Your Presence, oh yes, I ask this of You!

Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone I look for Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart, Your Spirit, because I love You and ask no other reward but to love You more and more.
With a firm love, I will love You with all my heart while on earth and continue to love You perfectly during all eternity.


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