The disciples had something to get done that day…get out of Jerusalem. They had something to worry about that day… Jesus, the guy they had pinned their hopes on, was gone, defeated, dead. On their way, they take up conversation with a fellow traveler, but do not see God’s face or hear his voice. Only after the day is over, they have had dinner and THEN…they realize it was Jesus who had been with them on the road. “Weren’t our hearts burning inside us as we walked on the road today.”

John Henry Newman once said “God’s presence is not discerned at the time when it is upon us, but afterwards when we look back.” Newman’s words and the disciples on the road give me a new and heightened appreciation for why St. Ignatius considered the Examen the most important prayer a person can pray. It is the prayer afterwards when we look back… when we look back and find God’s presence in our lives and allow God to find us.

—David McNulty works for the Midwest Jesuits. Dave and his wife Judy are grandparents of six.