Oftentimes we are confronted with decisions to make for our family, friends, career, work, and many other aspects of our lives. We encounter difficulties especially if the options are limited, so we either face it or flee away from it. When decisions are difficult to make, there’s a high chance that doubt and anxiety can creep in. Whenever there’s uncertainty there’s worry, so we almost always try to approach using other routes because we have already lost the confidence to proceed with our original plan.
Back in my college days, I’ve encountered situations wherein I started to doubt on myself and what I’m doing. A case in point was when objectives of the organization I’m leading weren’t falling into the right place as planned. I started to sleep less, didn’t have the appetite for food and became absent-minded in the classroom, thinking of the plans not working properly. In those times, not all was lost though, as I’m blessed with close friends — actually they’re like brothers to me — who were (still are) devoted, prayerful and provided strength and support. What made it more amazing is that these brothers have strong prayer lives such that the Mass became our refuge and source of strength.
The Gospel this Third Sunday of Easter (Lk. 24: 13- 35) tells us of two disciples going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus. As they were talking about what had happened lately, Jesus joined and walked with them but they were prevented from recognizing him. He asked them what were they discussing, then after one of them replied, he asked further, “What sort of things?” They said to him the things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, “who was a prophet mighty in deed and word”. They proceeded to describe how the chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him; they even shared their frustration that Jesus would be the one to liberate Israel. Their discussions gave a good account of the disciples’ failed hopes and aspirations, all the while telling a beautiful Gospel story about the events surrounding the Resurrection as first described by the women disciples.
In the same vein, when we are confronted with doubts, since we’ve already lost confidence in ourselves and in our faith, we often move away from what we’re supposed to be doing. We return to our comfort zones; in the case of the disciples, out of frustration and hopelessness, they went back to their former lives. We get lost in the scheme of things and in our hurry to leave, we even fail to recognize Jesus guiding us. In my own experience in prayer and depending on our state of grace, there’s a big chance we’ll be given a hint of the Spirit’s presence. However, because we don’t take time to reflect and to listen, our blindness persists. In the case of the disciples, it took the breaking of bread that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they realized,
“Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Lk. 24: 32)
When we’ve returned to our senses, our instinct tells us to get back to family, friends, or community, just like the two, who set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the Eleven and the others. This experience of the disciples on the road to Emmaus is a great reassurance for us, especially when the road to take is still hazy and unclear. This is the power of prayer that brings discernment to a soul in a state of grace, especially when faced with critical decisions to make. We can trust that Jesus will be there to guide us, and that should be shown in our sincere faith expressed in deep prayer. We trust that for as long as we listen to the Spirit’s promptings, to our burning hearts, He will lead us into the right path.
“Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to us; make our hearts burn while you speak to us.”