Sunday, April 06, 2008

Atticus and Emmaus

That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus
~~ Luke 24:13

A year or two before Atticus came into the Church, I was at Mass one Sunday and heard this Gospel reading. I stayed after to pray that day, and I poured my sad heart out to God:

"When will his heart be open, Lord? When?"

I prayed a bit more, and cried a little bit, then sat and tried to listen. What happened next was not something I heard, but something I saw and felt inside.

And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. ~~ Lk 24:15-16

I had an image of Atticus ... Jesus was holding him, His hands on Atticus' shoulders, trying to catch his eye. Atticus looked away: right, left, anywhere but straight ahead, into the Eyes of Jesus.

And then I knew.

It was only a matter of time.

Jesus was that close to my dear husband. And it was only a matter of time before Atticus stopped looking away, could no longer avoid Him, and would gaze straight ahead, into the eyes he would recognize as those of his Lord.

My tension slipped away. It might be months. It might be years. But Jesus had His hands on Atticus. I knew it in my heart and in my gut.

Sometime after that, I don't really remember the exact timing, Atticus did indeed surrender and looked straight into the eyes of God.

And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him
~~ Luke 24:30-31

When Atticus received his first Holy Communion, he recognized his life and God's claim on it in a new way. I remember marveling at all that he felt and sensed that Easter Vigil night. He knew what he was leaving behind and he knew -- as much as any of us can "know" -- what he was gaining.

Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.
~~ Luke 24:35

We recount what has taken place, and how He has been made known to us in the breaking of the bread.

And our marveling continues.

(Painting: Christ on the Road to Emmaus, Roelant Roghman, 17th c.)


Patience said...

This is the third time in the past couple of days that breaking bread with Jesus has come up for me in one setting or another. I loved your post. I loved *your* surrender and trust in Christ that he would remain with Atticus for as long as it took, and that he would not fail him.

Marvellous indeed.

Jennifer said...

This Emmaus story is absolutely gorgeous, made more so by your own.

shaun said...

What a beautiful reflection. I know from my own experience what it is to "avoid His glance," and what it feels like when He catches your eye before you were quite "ready."

I too pray for my husband's re-conversion, and remind myself that if it takes 20 years from now it will be worth the wait . . . but it is so hard!

Michele Quigley said...

Karen this is so beautiful. It truly brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing it.

Meredith said...

Just beautiful, ditto what Michele said :)

Heather said...

Oh big sighs...That just made me cry. Thanks once again for the reminder of hope and trust.