By Sister Mary Core, OSB
“Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)
Jesus’ familiar words are a reminder that the power of our prayer is enhanced when we pray with others.
It happens when we share a blessing before a meal we are about to enjoy.
It happens when we call upon the Spirit before offering words of guidance, comfort or condolence.
For Benedictine Sisters, it happens daily during our daily communal Liturgy of the Hours.
Here in chapel for Lauds, Noonday Prayer and Vespers, each of us is “one voice among many,” come together to pray as one.
We each add our voice to the mix of high and low, scratchy, coughing, froggy, soft and loud, very human sound of the community being the “Church at prayer.”
Yes, sometimes we’re a pretty “motley crew,” a little off key, our voices not always in sync, sometimes just trying to stay awake.
But all that doesn’t matter, because the fact that we’re all there, supporting one another, desiring to be in God’s presence – both in body and spirit – is what makes us “Church,” the People of God.
And it doesn’t stop at our chapel doors. When we chant a psalm, we know that somewhere in the world others are chanting the same psalm.
When we pray at Mass, we know others around this world are also sharing in Eucharist.
When we hold the hand of another who has asked us to pray with them, we know others are doing the same thing all around our earth.
Yes, when we pray with others, we are a small but necessary part of the Church at prayer, in conversation with Jesus, with our God.
Sometimes I can actually feel God’s presence and power in the chapel or room in which we are praying.
Sometimes, when I’m not in the best shape and am far less than 100% present, I count on the prayer of the others to uphold me.
Sometimes I find being with others heightens my awareness, and I become attuned to God working in and through each person in the group.
Like those on the road to Emmaus, we may not always be aware of Jesus’ presence in our midst. But in prayer, we can sense “our hearts burning within us…” (Luke 24:32).