GILH 9: Community Character of Prayer

The GILH looks to what some term the “horizontal” dimension of prayer, the community engaging in something of “special excellence.”

Community Character of Prayer

9. It follows that the example and precept of our Lord and the apostles in regard to constant and persevering prayer are not to be seen as a purely legal regulation. They belong to the very essence of the Church itself, which is a community and which in prayer must express its nature as a community. Hence, when the community of believers is first mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, it is seen as a community gathered together at prayer “with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and his brothers” (Acts 1:14). “There was one heart and soul in the company of those who believed” (Acts 4:32). Their oneness in spirit was founded on the word of God, on the communion of charity, on prayer, and on the eucharist. [See Acts 2:42 Gr.]

Though prayer in private and in seclusion [See Mt 6:6.] is always necessary and to be encouraged [See SC 12.] and is practiced by the members of the Church through Christ in the Holy Spirit, there is a special excellence in the prayer of the community. Christ himself has said: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst” (Mt 18:20).

For the Liturgy of the Hours outside the monastery and other settings of religious life, the struggle is to put the communal stamp on these liturgies in parishes, homes, and at various meetings.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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