“were not our hearts burning…?”

see http://www.edgeofenclosure.org
Post for Easter 3 (Year A)
“were not our hearts burning…”

The demon Screwtape explains to his nephew Wormwood what happens when the “patient” (the man entrusted to Wormwood to lure toward hell) dies and meets the angels.

He had no faintest conception till that very hour of how they would look, and even doubted their existence. But when he saw them he knew that he had always known them and realized what part each one of them had played at many an hour in his life when he had supposed himself alone, so that now he could say to them, one by one, not “Who ARE you?” but “So it was YOU all the time.” All that they were and said at this meeting woke memories. The dim consciousness of friends about him which had haunted his solitudes from infancy was now at last explained; that central music in every pure experience which had always just evaded memory was now at last recovered… He saw not only Them; he saw Him. -C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

I don’t even remember reading The Screwtape Letters for the first time. I must have been in high school or college. But I remember this passage striking me then, because of the familiar feeling it evoked. ‘So it was YOU all along.’ All that they were and said at this meeting woke memories. The dim consciousness of friends about him which had haunted his solitudes from infancy was now at last explained…”

Why did it take me until now to link this passage to the Emmaus encounter? I’m grateful, though, that it popped into my head now. Or maybe Mystery, “that which is told with closed lips,” whispered the idea into my subconscious (see meditation three on the EofE website).

Years ago I watched Bill Moyer’s wonderful interviews with Joseph Campbell, and again I felt a sense of familiar shock when Campbell said that when you are living into the work you are supposed to do “a thousand unseen hands will help you.” At the time I was far from living into my vocation, (I think I’m only beginning to do that now) but in the times of my life when I’ve come close to what I feel called to do, I DO experience those “unseen helping hands.”

A friend of mine possesses a genius for ordinary life – kitchen, garden, family, relationships, life itself seems to transfigure in her presence. She gently tells me to “ask for help.” She knows unseen hands guide her. When I remember, I ask for help. When I relax into recollection, I sense the loving presences “haunting my solitudes,” bearing me up, guiding, watching, guarding.

Do you remember praying for angels to watch and pray for you through the night when you were a child?  I did, even though I didn’t believe in angels then.  And now, as an adult Christian I sing with the church across the globe the antiphon on the Nunc dimittis at night: Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping, that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep we may rest in peace. I suppose devout people convey these rituals from generation to generation to prepare the soul for that moment in time when a kind of second sight, that sensibility of Resurrection, heightens the senses.

 “Oh, it’s YOU ! I might have known… were not our hearts burning …?”

-Suzanne

Lord Jesus, stay with us, for evening is at hand and the day is past; be our companion in the way, kindle our hearts, and awaken hope, that we may know you as you are revealed in Scripture and the breaking of bread. Grant this for the sake of your love. Amen.  -BCP

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3 Responses to ““were not our hearts burning…?””

  1. deb blakley Says:

    Your words always bless me. Thanks for abiding and sharing with us, whom you do not even know. It doesn’t matter. We both know Him.

  2. claire Says:

    So it was YOU all along… Thank you, Suzanne 🙂
    Blessings.

  3. Chris Says:

    Thank you for reminding me of this beautiful sentence–

    The dim consciousness of friends about him which had haunted his solitudes from infancy was now at last explained; that central music in every pure experience which had always just evaded memory was now at last recovered… He saw not only Them; he saw Him.

    –and for connecting it all to the shock of recognition on the Road to Emmaus.

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