Prayer Groups

August 28, 1994
Brother John Raymond

	I remember a saying which I believe is in the Old Testament Book
 of Proverbs that goes something like this, "a three stranded cord is
 hard to break." This may not sound like an earth shattering
 revelation but the lesson is what is of importance. A single string
 all alone is easily broken but when you combine it with other
 strings, even of the same quality, it is hard to break. When applied
 to the realm of human beings a similar phenomenon is observed. One
 need only look at the weight watchers groups, alcoholics anonymous,
 etc., to see that people can do and persevere in things in groups
 that they could not do alone.
	The same can be said about the spiritual life. We need other like
 or religious minded people to keep us going. Of course the family
 can be just such a group. Jacque and Raissi Maritian along with
 Raissi's sister Vera lived under the same roof. They constantly
 encouraged one another in the spiritual life even having fraternal
 correction regarding each other's failings. It is certain that St.
 Therese the Little Flower, the greatest saint of modern times, had a
 strong spiritual support and atmosphere in her family as she grew
 up. So the family should be the first and best spiritual or prayer
 support group.
	Besides the family I think it is so important for everyone to
 belong to some prayer group or spiritual support group. Our Lady of
 Medjugorje told Jelena, a former child locutionist, that She wants
 everyone in the world to be in a prayer group, even non-Christians.
 The visionary Ivan says that "prayer groups are a protection from
 the triumph of satan.
	A prayer group can be quite informal, even of only two people.
 Remember Our Lord promised that where two or three are gathered in
 His Name He would be present among them. I really enjoyed an
 informal Bible study and prayer group that I belonged to in Florida.
 It consisted of a few young guys, a family and a separated woman. We
 became like family even at times sharing a Sunday meal together. But
 there are more formal groups out there. To mention a few: Cursillo,
 Charismatics, Cenacles, Legion of Mary, Rosary groups, Adoration
 groups and a whole bunch of Third Orders. A girl working at a travel
 agency just became a Carmelite Third Order member. There are
 Dominican, Franciscan, etc. Third Orders that really give wonderful
 direction to one's spiritual life. Many Religious Orders have
 associations lay people can join to share in their spiritual life.
 One can easily find some of these groups through their local parish
	As the world grows worse these prayer groups become ever more
 important to sustain and encourage us against the evils that
 surround us. If you are already in a prayer group invite others into
 it. It is amazing how many people would like to be part of such a
 group but don't have the courage to ask. A great help for me was
 when I stayed for coffee and doughnuts after Holy Mass on Sunday. A
 woman in line noticed I was alone and began to talk to me. Finally
 she invited me to her prayer group. This group became very
 instrumental in my monastic vocation. But on my own I would have
 never learned about it or had the courage to join it.
	So let's be part of or start a prayer group, always making sure
 that our family is the first one. Remember, a three stranded cord is
 hard to break!