NIGHT PRAYER: Sunday 4/14

On Sundays, Night Prayer will focus on an element from the day's celebration of Mass. Today's scriptures didn't immediately suggest a particular direction  for prayer but the gospel includes the two disciples to whom Jesus appeared on the road to Emmaus.  This is the closest to that story we'll come on a Sunday in this year's course of Easter readings.  The previous link brings you to today's gospel, this post includes the text of the Emmaus story.

That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus' disciples were going to a village called Emmaus,
seven miles from Jerusalem...
Like the two disciples, Lord,
my every day and every  week,
the course of my whole life,
is one long series of
comings and goings,
tos and fros,
from here to there and back again,
all the time searching
for a quiet, gentle time and place
to stop and take a breath,
to pause, to rest
and be at peace
with you...

And they were conversing 
about all the things that had occurred.
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.

Oh, how often, Lord, do I miss you?
How often am I too busy to look for you?
How often do I miss your presence at my side?
How often do I ignore you
or even pretend you're not there
even though I know
you're living in my heart?

He asked them,
"What are you discussing as you walk along?"
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
"Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know of the things
that have taken place there in these days?"
How often, Lord,
do you in your compassion and kindness
ask what's on my mind and in my heart
though you know so much better than I 
everything that passes through thoughts
and through my soul,
listening patiently while I, like a child,
pour out my sorrows and my hurt,
seeking healing and comfort
from you who know my story
so fully and so well...

As they approached the village to which they were going,
Jesus gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, "Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over."
So he went in to stay with them.
Even when I fear you've drifted off, Lord,
even when I search but cannot find you,
even and especially then
do you stay right by my side
and make your home within my heart
through the heat of day to sunset
and then all through the night...

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,
but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
"Were not our hearts burning within us
while he spoke to us on the way?"
When I cannot find you,
when you've vanished from my sight,
then open the eyes of my faith, Lord,
and open my heart and soul,
my mind and my thoughts,
my spirit and my imagination!
Open the whole of me
to the whole of you
in all the ways you join me
on the many paths I walk.
Let your Spirit's wisdom burn
in your every whispered word
as you feed my deepest hunger  
in the breaking of your bread...

Then the two recounted
what had taken place on the way
and how he was made known to them 
in the breaking of bread.
I'm at the end of my day, Lord,
it's time to find a quiet place
to rest and find some peace,
to remember that you're right by my side
and to listen for your gentle voice
and hear the healing word you speak
from your heart to my own...
Protect me, Lord, while I'm awake
and watch over me while I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
and asleep, rest in your peace...
On the Journey to Emmaus by Marty Haugen

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On the journey to Emmaus with our hearts cold as stone-
the One who would save us had left us alone.
Then a stranger walks with us and, to our surprise,
he opens our stories and he opens our eyes.

And our hearts burned within us as we talked on the way,
how all that was promised was ours on that day.
So we begged him, 'Stay with us and grant us your word.'
We welcomed the stranger and we welcomed the Lord.

And that evening at the table as he blessed and broke bread,
we saw it was Jesus aris'n from the dead;
Though he vanished before us we knew he was near -
the life in our dying and the hope in our fear.

On the journey to Emmaus, in our stories and feast,
with Jesus we claim that the greatest is least:
and his words burn within us - let none be ignored -
who welcomes the stranger shall welcome the Lord.




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