The numinous speaks to our hearts through story, events, sacred writing, sacred icons, though holy people and holy places, but also through what seem to be ordinary events, events which suddenly, mysteriously, disclose the transcendent in our midst. And having been witness to such, we are often transformed, perhaps permanently so. Even reading, hearing, or talking about such events can open our hearts to permit such moments of transformation. For that reason the scriptures urge us to ponder and remember such luminous events and to pass them along to future generations.
I particularly love one such luminous story from the 24th Chapter of Luke, The Walk to Emmaus. It is central to this chapter and it exemplifies so much. How pondering together over aspects of Holy Mystery immerses us in Christ’s Presence. How the Presence of Holy Mystery involves both Word and Nourishment, issuing in Liturgical Presence alongside inner Liturgy of the Heart.
Three times in this chapter, we are told to “remember”:
- 6Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’ 8Then they remembered his words.
- 25Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26Was it not necessary that the Messiah* should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ 27Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. [And after breaking bread with them] Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us – while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’
- ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ 45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah* is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses* of these things.
Remembrance. Eyes opened. Scriptures opened. Hearts burning. Issuing in prayer.
Followed immediately, as it happens, by a profound meditation on the meaning and import of Word as Divine Presence in John’s Gospel: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.