ON OUR LORD SHOWING HIMSELF TO THE DISCIPLES GOING TO EMMAUS. LUKE xxiv.
Consider first, how two of the disciples going from Jerusalem to a neighbouring town called Emmaus, on the very day of our Lord’s resurrection, while they were discoursing together on the way and making him the subject of their conversation, were also favoured with his presence, yet in such a manner as not to know him. He overtook them on the way and joined their company, and after upbraiding them with their slowness of belief, explained to them the Scriptures that related to his passion and resurrection, and enkindled in their hearts the fire of devotion. See, Christians, the great advantage of pious conversation, such especially as has Christ for its subject – it even draws him down from heaven into our company. We may in some measure apply to it what our Lord says, Matt. xviii. 20, ‘When there are two or three gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them.’ Luke vi. 45. What a pity then there should be generally so little of God in the conversation of Christians! Alas, how can this forgetfulness of God be reconciled with our loving him? We naturally delight to speak of what we love – ‘for from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh:’ how then can we flatter ourselves that the love of God is the master of our hearts, when we seldom care to speak of him? Surely this is not the way to engage Christ to be in our company.
Consider 2ndly, that our Lord was not known at first by these disciples, because their faith in him was weak and imperfect. See, my soul, if the weakness of thy faith be not also the reason why he does not manifest himself to thee, so as to let thee know him indeed, as the Saints have done. St. Gregory takes notice that these disciples were not enlightened so as to know Christ whilst they only heard his words, but were quickly enlightened in the fulfilling of his commandments, by the exercise of hospitality and charity, to teach us that the way to come at the knowledge of God and of those truths which as yet we are ignorant of is to practise, to the best of our power, what we know already of his heavenly will. These disciples ‘knew our Lord in the breaking of bread:’ to teach us that there is no better way to come at the perfection of the knowledge and love of God, than a worthy participation of the bread of life in the blessed Eucharist.
Consider 3rdly, how these disciples took notice that their hearts were burning within them whilst they were in the company of our Lord and enjoyed his heavenly conversation, Luke xxiv. 32. My soul, dost thou desire to experience something of these sacred flames? Seek them in the company and conversation of Christ. Alas! the reason why thou art so lukewarm, or rather downright cold in thy devotions, is the continual dissipation of thy thoughts at other times, and a habit of indulging vain amusements, which fill thy inward house with such disagreeable company as keep Christ away from thee and rob thee of his sweet conversation. O how happy mightest thou be if by banishing all these impertinences by a spirit of recollection, thou wouldst endeavour to keep thyself always close to thy Saviour, and like the ancient Saints to walk with him! A diligence in this would make thee begin to enjoy a heaven upon earth.
Conclude to study well these lessons, which our Lord desires we should learn from his manifestations of himself after his resurrection. But especially learn to seek always the happiness of his company and conversation, in thy own interior: there is the school of divine love.