There can be something deeply profound and moving about praying in community, and it has been playing on my mind recently.
Last week I went to the monastery on my day off just to sit and pray with the sisters. I was reminded how much rhythm is a part of their prayer. There are times to speak, time to listen to others speaking, times of silence to allow God to speak, and a slowing down from whatever we have been doing before, and whatever awaits us after. It’s a sacred time to pause and put God back at the center of our day…. Several times a day!
I am part of a monastic community that prays together on the phone, and this morning was a time when we found our rhythm in a beautiful way. Sometimes when we come together, people come from busyness, from distractions, from life. And this can carry through into our prayers. But at other times, like this morning, when we all set aside whatever else is going on, slow down, breathe, and sink into that pulse that feels like true God time, something beautiful is created. There are pauses, both between people speaking and each line they speak; there is attention to the words spoken and the silences; there is a harmony that crosses the miles between us, and a sinking in to the One who calls us Beloved. And I feel it in my body, a softening and opening and presence that I know will carry me through the day.
I often feel this world as a jagged and sharp place, and wonder what it would be like if more of us prayed together in community. Allowed ourselves this time of softening and pausing and re-setting and re-centering. And did it together with other people. The communal aspect feels like an important piece for it reminds us that we are connected, we all a part of the Body of Christ, walking through this broken world in kinship, given the eyes to see and the hands to help one another. For I have learnt that we cannot live in bubbles of isolation… the only way our world can heal is by us coming together, finding the living pulse that allows for listening and breathing and re-centering in the Divine.
Finding this rhythm takes attention and intention on the part of the pray-ers. It takes all of us to breathe into the space and listen to God’s heartbeat for our words and our cadence. It takes an awareness beyond ourselves. And all these things, too, are a part of creating a community of peace and hope and healing together.
Pope Francis says, “How good it is for us to pray together. How good it is to encounter one another in this place where we see one another as brothers and sisters, where we realize that we need one another. I need your support, your closeness (and you need mine). I would like to invite you to pray together, for one another, with one another. That way we can keep helping one another to experience the joy of knowing that Jesus is in our midst.”
I invite you to seek a community of prayer, even if it is just one other person, and find that rhythm of falling into the heartbeat of God, breathing with God, listening and speaking and re-centering on this One who love you…. And allowing that softening and widening awareness of the community around you, to happen over time, and pay attention to what happens!