Two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened thatwhile they were conversing and debating, Jesus Himself drew near and walked with them,but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. (Luke 24:13-16).
The first day after Easter is Emmaus Monday for the Community. Like the two original disciples on the road to Emmaus, we keep our hearts open with longing for an encounter with the presence of the Risen Christ.This year, with the permission of my novice director, our postulant and I headed for Split Rock River. A trail ran alongside the river, and throughout the hike we encountered beautiful and powerful waterfalls, silver birch trees, and a stillness imbued with God’s presence.We encountered two fallen trees in the middle of the river. On close examination we surmised that two trees fell from different directions, landing across one another on a rock in the middle of the stream. But from a distance it was a more remarkable sight: the fallen trees were in the shape of a cross. What a powerful image and message to encounter on the day after Easter: through the suffering of the cross, death has been defeated and hope has been renewed and restored.The disciples on the road to Emmaus initially did not recognize their fellow traveler as Jesus Himself because they were focused too closely on the details of His persecution, death, and disappearance from the tomb. Jesus helped them to step back and gain a fresh perspective on what His suffering really meant.Two fallen trees resting on a rock in the midst of a river can be a sad reminder of the fragility of nature and of our own human lives. From a distance, though, they reveal and remind us that God’s glory is often hidden in even the darkest moments. The suffering of the cross stands undefeated no more. Toppled and fallen, new life – God’s life – emerges from surrender, pain, and loss. Christ is always with us, walking beside us, helping us to step back and see things from His perspective.
Lord, grant me the grace to see my life, my life’s circumstances, and myself as You see them. Amen.
Sister Ann Marie Wainright
Sister Ann Marie Wainright is a Benedictine Sister of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, she worked as a CPA for many years before earning dual masters degrees in counseling and pastoral studies. Sister Ann Marie is interested how people encounter God in their daily lives and how they use their faith and spirituality in meeting difficult challenges.View all of Sister Ann Marie’s blogs.