Tag Archives: Saint Anselm Institute

April 8, Station V: Stay with Us!

RoodEngMartyrsCamb (495x700)

…He walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us…’ [28-32]

We can’t help wishing that Luke would have told us something of what the stranger said as he opened the scriptures to them, but he doesn’t. Instead he has him walking ahead, as if to go on, and the disciples begging him to stay. And that really takes us to the heart of what this Gospel is about. The disciples don’t want the conversation to end, while we may feel we are still waiting for it to begin: and the point being made by Luke is that it is not ‘a conversation’ so much as a process that continues, only in a way that neither they nor we could have expected.

‘So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took bread, blessed it and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised him…’ The conversation continues now not in words but in action. Up until this moment they have been listening to a stranger who has slowly been opening their understanding, and stirring their memories. But it is only when he does something when they are at table with him—he takes bread, blesses it, breaks it and gives it to them—that their eyes are suddenly opened and they recognise him in what he has just done. His presence is revealed, and will always be revealed, in the breaking of the bread, in the celebration of Eucharist.

And significantly, no sooner do they recognise him than he ‘dis-appears’: they no longer see him but they know he is present with them. They had begun to sense his presence while they listened to his Word [Were not our hearts burning within us…?], and now in the action of breaking and sharing bread it dawns on them: he is here, This is my body…Do this…

And just as suddenly as they realise this he ‘dis-appears’, at the very moment when they do see and fully grasp what has happened. And yet they are not in the least disturbed when they can no longer see him, because they now know that though he died he is alive in a new way, and they also have been brought back to life, this new life: seeing with new eyes, and driven by a new energy. And they waste no time: That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem.

What is this like for us today?


Perhaps there are two lessons—or really one lesson in two stages—that we can learn from this ‘Station’ as we try to connect it with our own experience.

  • Our first need is often to talk and listen to one another, read, discuss, argue…but in the end we want to move to action: what are we going to do? And that could be what would make us press the stranger to stay with us…talk to us a bit more, help us not just to understand but to see a way forward.
  • The stranger does stay, but what he now does is to bring words and action together in a powerful symbolic act—the breaking of the bread—which they recognised, and immediately also recognised him. But there is a crucial difference: they now grasp the meaning of the action and recognise in the breaking of the bread the acting out—or better, the living out—of the Word he had been explaining to them: This is my body, this is what I have done and now do again here for you and with you, so that you may continue to do the same, take this bread/my body and do/live for others as I do for you.


The Rood Screen at Our Lady and the English Martyrs, Cambridge, explicitly links the Cross and the Eucharist. MMB.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caravaggio#/media/File:Caravaggio_-_Cena_in_Emmaus.jpg


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April 5: Station II – Jesus came and walked with them.

Jesus came and walked with them,

but their eyes were held and they did not recognise him… [14-18]


Notice what is happening here. These two disciples are totally absorbed in what they’re talking about when they suddenly become aware of someone walking alongside them. They have no idea who this stranger is, and if we are to be with them —and learn with them—it is important that we don’t know either. It’s enough to notice the effect it has on them: they stop talking, and when he asks them what they’ve been talking about, ‘the two stood still, looking sad’. That simple question, asked by a stranger, stops them in their tracks and takes them to a new level of awareness—behind all their words there is a deep sadness, which shows in their faces.

That brief glimpse into what they are feeling, takes them to the heart of what is troubling them; it’s not about the surface detail of all the terrible things that have happened, but about what it all means…or does it mean anything? The stranger’s question strikes home in this way, and for a moment they can only stop talking and be silently aware of the weight of their feelings. It is an invitation to them to tell him what they have been talking about, but he will help them to do that in a deeper way, as they re-live the experience and register its personal emotional impact.

What is this like for us today?

What if a stranger came, clearly interested in what we’re talking about but apparently knowing nothing about what’s been happening—or not happening—in the Church? How would we react/respond?

  • Would we be like these two disciples? They were astonished that anyone could fail to know ‘what has been happening in Jerusalem these past few days’. But before that they are suddenly aware of what they’re feeling—what really matters is not what has happened in Jerusalem but how deeply they have been affected by it: sad, angry, confused, near despair… ‘Where is God?’That may be a place where we can stop too. Before saying any more about what has happened, or what it is that ‘makes us’ sad or angry, or whatever, in the Church: let the stranger’s question put us in touch with ourselves.
  • Where am I in this story [of what is happening in the Church]?
  • And what has happened, or is happening in me, as the story unfolds?
  • Why does it bother me so much? Why does it ‘weigh’ on me in the way it does?


Milestone, Forth ad Clyde Canal, MMB.



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April 3 – The Journey of Conversion andDiscipleship


The traditional Stations of the Cross invite us to re-enact the Passion and Death of Jesus, pausing for reflection and prayer at ‘Stations’ along the way. The focus for ‘the Stations’ has traditionally been on only a part of the Gospel narrative, the Passion and Death of Jesus, and it has been recognised that that was too narrow and had to be extended to include the Resurrection, without which the Way of the Cross could never be complete. Much can be gained, I think, by extending it still further to encompass the entire narrative of the Gospel, recognising that ‘the Way of the Cross’ is actually the Way of the Gospel, of discipleship—‘Take up your cross and follow me’.

I suggest we take one text—St Luke’s account of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus [Luke 24:13-35]—and use it as a template for our own ‘Stations’ on our journey of faith, our learning to be disciples in the reality of our lives and of the Church as we experience it today.

After reading the text it will help to offer a bird’s eye view of the overall movement, noting how it opens with two dispirited disciples leaving Jerusalem after the crucifixion of Jesus and ends with them hurrying back, at the end of the same day, to re-join the community they had just left, eager to tell the others what has happened to them. What we want to do is not just understand what happened to them that accounts for this dramatic turn-around, but to try to position ourselves at each Station in the narrative, looking for correlates in our own experience—as individuals, as a group, as Church.



“The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew…

“The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ.”

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium [1-2]

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Interruption: Introducing Stations on the Way to Emmaus

John McCluskey is a Mill Hill Missionary who has worked in Europe and Cameroon, Africa. He now teaches at the Institute of Saint Anselm, Margate as well as at the Franciscan International Study Centre. He offers these reflections on the Way to Emmaus as a way to take stock of our situation today, as individuals and groups in the Church and World today. I am very happy to recommend them to you as our posts for this week of Eastertide.


If your New Testament is not handy, try this link to the Gospel text, which is Luke 24:13 – 33.



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by | April 3, 2016 · 00:12

Interruption – God’s life-giving presence in this world.


chich.starceiling (785x800)Here is a homily from Fr John McCluskey MHM that reflects on Advent, Climate Change and our not-so-Great Expectations being surpassed by God. Look in Occasional Homilies Now!

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