Come together

Christmas 2013

For Christmas, we travel to Pittsburgh to be with my family. Every year, we attend Mass together on Christmas morning, and every year, the kids practically whine, “WHY do we have to go to Mass?”

Usually, I feel crunched for time and rattle off some quick response along the lines of, “Do you know why we celebrate Christmas at all?” or “You got all these great presents and you can’t give an hour to God?” Even if the kids stop asking and move toward the door, I’m sure that answer doesn’t satisfy them any more than it satisfied me at that age.

Outside of Christmas, I sometimes wonder about the difference between attending a service with others or praying (or whatever) individually to connect with God. I do believe that God is everywhere, and we each have our own way of making connections. But still, I feel moved in a different way after gathering in a group or even acknowledging as a group that something is special.

I recalled a rare Easter Sunday visit to Pittsburgh, years ago. As my husband and I drove from the airport to my parents’ home, I realized that it felt like Easter but didn’t know why. My husband, craving a bagel, realized that all the bagel shops were closed and in fact, there were very few stores open at all. He found it odd and a tad inconvenient, and I suddenly felt like the whole city was celebrating Easter together, setting it aside as special from any other Sunday.

This Christmas, I received a note from a friend that reminded me of “The Vibe.” The short version is this: I once managed a project team where, at every weekly meeting, we would come up with a vision of what needed to happened in order to move our work forward in the best way. Though the vision might feel outlandish to our logical minds, our only criteria was that it had to resonate emotionally in the gut of every person in the room. Surprisingly, we came to a quick consensus every week, and every week, our logically outlandish vision came about. (If you want more of a description, I wrote a post about it here: The Law of Attraction.)

Recounting these random memories to a friend, she pointed out that in each case, there was the power of a group joining together, directing our emotional and spiritual energies toward a single vision. And maybe that is a big part of our human experience on earth: To connect with each other and to that which is larger than ourselves.

Perhaps it is similar when you pray for me. Thank you for coming together as part of a larger group. Together, your prayers and good will have power beyond just one person. Your vision of a healthy life for me moves my life and make it all more real.

God bless you.

4 thoughts on “Come together

  1. A very beautiful post, Marie! I completely understand that sense of power that comes from everyone striving to make a common vision a reality. And speaking more directly about you, when I offer prayers I often feel part of a larger community that is pulling together, though many of us do not know one another and our own little piece can feel insignificant on its own. You are not lucky to have your community; you have created it and nourish it in ways that enrich all of us, I would venture, based on my own little corner of this world. May 2014 be filled with good health, abundant joy and lots of fun. And don’t forget: you’ve got an important wedding to enliven…! x0x0 Charmi

  2. I know what you mean about getting something out of community prayer.  I do not go to church so much anymore.  Instead I went to the blood bank and donated my platelets.  I’m sure you know the process, a few hours doing something that would benefit someone else. Now, I just pray anywhere.  Yet, being in church with everyone doing the same thing IS special.  Praying for you is what I do and I know that you are praying for me too.  Love you!   jan

  3. Im just getting caught up, but I’d like to share a thought about the “power of the group”. I think of this as “community” and we all know we need to be part of them, both to draw strength and to give strength. My own girls used to grumble like this about church when they were young. They would often say, there was no reason for them to go because they were getting “nothing” out of it. We made the effort to attend every week, so it was a LOT of grumbling 😉

    I finally started reminding them of the widowed older men and women in our congregation who talked to them each week, asking about school, or complimenting their “good church behavior” or their pretty dresses. I pointed out that for some of those people, we may be the only family they saw all week. We talked about how it might bring those people joy and hope to see our whole family sitting in the pew together. I told the girls that they needed to go because those people at our Church needed them to be there. And one day, they may need the Church or the people in it, so they should go just because they are needed by the community.

    Frankly, in the face of some of the terrible things that happen in all communities sometimes, that may be the only reason for all of us to stay connected in our communities!

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