I still have this amazing hangover on what I’ve learned from the With Hearts Burning event last September 17. I am thankful and blessed to be part of a multicultural parish and be surrounded by people who were in there for the same reason – to experience Jesus once again.
The highlight for me was the presentation of the Emmaus icon to the laity and when Bishop Steve gave a deeper explanation of the Emmaus story (Luke 24:13-35) during the homily. I know… I’m a little late on it but I’d like to share these helpful information that I got from the prayer resource that were distributed to the parishioners after the Mass. So here’s a few words of inspiration for you all!
What is an icon?
The word icon means “image”.
The first images of Jesus as the Good Shepherd were found in the catacombs of Rome where the early Christians hid from Roman persecution. Before this it was forbidden to make images of God. St. John Damascus teaches us that since God assumed physical form in the person of Jesus Christ, He also could be represented in pictures. Icons seek to open doorways to the divine allowing us to enter into the mystery of Christ and how he makes us sharers in his divine life as witnessed in the lives of the saints. Icons are venerated not for the image itself but for their leading us to the divine.
Points of reflection based on the prayer resource for the Emmaus Icon
The two disciples are on their way to Emmaus when the Lord appears walking with them. He is hidden from their minds. They do not recognize the Risen Lord. This is symbolized by the way the Lord is wrapped in his outer Blue Cloak so that only His hand is visible, pointing in a teacherly way as He expounds the Scriptures to them. Their outstretched hands indicate a desire to hear more of what this “stranger” has to tell them.
Whenever God reveals Himself to man it is invariably “on the Mountain top”. This meeting with the Lord is also expressed by the mountain side is another expression of the new life arising from the Risen Lord reminiscent of the tree in the icon of the Baptism of the Lord and elsewhere.
The mystery depicted is too great to be contained, so it is represented outside the building in the background, the Inn. The red drape represents this. In iconography the presence of a red drape indicates that the mystery contained in the icon is actually happening inside.
It was at the moment of the breaking of the bread that the two disciples recognized the Lord. Jesus is revealed to them in His glory, indicated by the golden light emanating from His garments. This Golden reflective light is the light of Glory, heavenly light not earthly light, the light of the eight day.
The letters IC XC written on either side of the Lord’s halo stand for His Holy name. IC = Greek for Jesus; XC = Greek for Christ. In the Lord’s Halo is written O WN. These letters always and only appears in the Halo of the Lord. In Greek – O = “the” and WN = “being”; this is He-who-is, The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses as he revealed Himself in the burning bush.
As in the Gospel account the two disciples immediately return to Jerusalem to inform the others of their experience. Here they are seen engaging with the remaining eleven apostles. You may recognize Peter leading the group, with James and John (holding the scroll); singling him (John) out as the writer of the sublime Gospel.
In the center and right panels the iconographer chose to use a chequered pattern of light and dark tiles in the floor indicating the interconnection between the Church triumphant and the Church Militant.
PRAYING WITH THE ICON
Approach the icon with eyes of faith, with the expectation of an encounter.
Pray the Emmaus Prayer.
Give the Risen Christ and his two companions your full attention, just as you would spend time with a friend.
Read the Scripture Passage.
Listen let Him Speak and reveal Himself to you in a new way.
Converse with Him and connect your story with His. Speak of your faith journey and your family members’ faith. Ask Him to set your heart burning.
Give thanks for your time of prayer.
WITH HEARTS BURNING PRAYER
Lord Jesus, Risen Christ, You are with me on the road of my life journey. You are with me now.
Draw me deeper into Your presence, for You are my God who walks with me.
Open my lips so that I may offer You my cares and concerns, all the struggles and hopes of my heart.
Open the ear of my heart to hear Your voice as You call me to the fullness of Your life.
Lead me deeper into the mystery of Your presence with all people. Enrich me with Your Word and Your Eucharist.
Set my heart and all hearts on fire with the warmth of Your radiant Holy Spirit so that we might share Your Good News with all those we meet.
Lead us safely to Your Father’s home where You live and reign forever and ever. Amen.
Mary, Mother of the Church, Pray for us.
St. Joseph, Pray for us.
St. Peter Chanel, Pray for us.
Just like the two disciples, did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road? We must journey with the risen Christ and walk alongside our brothers and sisters as well. Thank you Lord for the perfect sendoff. Help us venture out into the world to be living witnesses of your goodness and faithfulness. Set our hearts on fire!
Thank you so much guys for reaching the end. Please subscribe if you want more soul nourishing content and don’t forget to connect with me through my other social media links. God bless everyone!
Sending lots of love,