Spirituality – Regina Cassidy
A good friend of mine, someone who works in the Church, often talks
with me about the retreats that she has been on. She describes her daily prayer–quiet times of meditation and contemplation. I sit and listen in awe, mixed with a little bit of envy. She seems at such peace, and so close to God. She is quiet, rested, and renewed after each of these experiences. She is holy, I realize.
After I finish speaking with her, I return to my own life, dissatisfied and determined to change. I should be able to do what she does. I like nature–and I have a beautiful park, with a lake, near by my home. Walk there every day, I tell myself. Sit on one of the benches, take in God’s wonder, and reflect on the blessings that surround me. And so, I’ll do this–for a day or two. Then I fall back into my old habits, forgetting all about my resolve to be different.
Different? Different from what? Am I close to God at all?
This past Holy Week, I attended services with my family at our parish. The liturgy was beautiful, especially Holy Thursday. The night of the Last Supper! The night that the Eucharist was instituted! But what was I doing, instead of reflecting on the sacrament? Watching people going up to receive Communion–something which I often do. I berated myself for being so distracted, but I continued looking. I felt so alive–more alive than I have in a long time. Seeing the faces of people whom I love, as well as people I didn’t know, in the church that I love as well- -I could have stood up at that moment and yelled “Praise the Lord” if I had been free enough to do so. One thing is certain–I felt very close to God that night, and its memory continues to warm me.
I was recently asked to write a reflection on the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. When I first read the gospel, about the two disciples on their walk to Emmaus, I was struck by the range of their feelings. I could definitely relate to each, for in the course of a day, I experience most of them. But as I continued to reflect, I was struck by another similarity. When I’m experiencing some strong feeling, what do I do? I talk to someone. I need to share what’s going on with me, and I draw strength from this other person. And in our relationship, in our connection, I am changed. I am excited, I am encouraged, just by the fact that someone knows and cares enough to listen. I am freed, then, to move on, and do something about myself or my situation.
Is this what happened on the road to Emmaus? Troubled and sad, these two people came together and began to talk. As they did, Jesus began to walk along with them. I am reminded of the words of Jesus when He said, “Whenever two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in your midst.” The disciples didn’t realize until after He was gone, that indeed, He has been right there with them. Now I shake my head in frustration, too, much the same as those disciples.
When do I feel closest to Jesus? It is at times like these–when I’m with other people-
– talking, listening, and sharing what is deeply important to me. I’ve felt this way for as long as I can remember, as I’ve always sought a close connection to people. When I’ve found it, I’ve been invigorated, renewed, restored.
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