As you may have read in The Anchor a few weeks ago, the diocese has started a new 40-hour Devotion to the Eucharist. On the second Thursday of every month, starting this month, there will be Adoration all across the diocese at different parishes. As I read about this, I loved that we were embarking on this new journey and it reminded me of the Scripture passage about the disciples on the Road to Emmaus.
About four years ago, I started going to Adoration once a week at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Seekonk. Every year for our Freshman Retreat, the team does some sort of sacrifice and I thought I’d give an extra hour to Jesus. When I went into the chapel I saw that there were times that were needed to be filled and I so I signed up for one at 11 p.m. so it would continue to keep me coming. My plan was to stop going after the retreat but I quickly discovered how that one hour each week changed me.
In the Scripture passage of the Road to Emmaus, the two disciples are discussing how Jesus’ tomb was empty after the crucifixion. As they are talking, Jesus joins them but they do not recognize them. They tell Him all that has occurred and He shares Scripture with them. It gets late and so they stop for the night and ask Jesus to stay with them. As they sit down to eat, Jesus blesses and breaks the bread and the Gospel tells us that their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus. The disciples said “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Lk 24:32). This is essential for us as we grow in faith. We need to learn the teachings of the Church but we also need to understand that our eyes and our mind are not all that we need to understand our faith. The disciples were angry with themselves because they didn’t recognize Jesus with their hearts.
“Were not our hearts burning….” As I sit in front of Jesus each week I would love to say that every hour, my heart is burning with the recognition of Christ in front of me but that would not be true. Some days it is all I can do to stay awake for that one hour (11 p.m. on a school night can be difficult). Some days I am tuned in, singing praise songs (only when there is no one else in the chapel with me — I would not do that to anyone but Jesus!) Some days, I have my Bible, a highlighter and my journal and I am breaking into His Word. Regardless of how my time is going in Adoration, I am better for having spent that hour with Him. I cannot get to know Him better if I do not spend time with Him. I cannot learn to imitate Him if I do not know how He speaks, how He acts and how He loves.
As we journey our own Roads to Emmaus, let us not just talk about Jesus, but rather talk with Jesus. Let us open our hearts to see the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist so that learn to love the time we spend with Him, know that we are spending time with the one true Lord of all the world. As a Church, I am hopeful that this journey back to the Eucharist will help to reignite a love and passion for the grace He offers in the Sacraments. Let us use this time to let our hearts burn with a love for Him and for all His children.
Anchor columnist Amanda Tarantelli has been a campus minister at Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth since 2005. She is married, a die-hard sports fan, and resides in Cranston, R.I. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.