Freedom to Gather in Prayer

Yesterday morning, I began my day at the law school with a group of students who meet on Thursday mornings each week for communal prayer.  During the part of the gathering where there is extemporaneous prayer of praise and petition, someone expressed gratitude (as someone invariably does at these weekly gatherings) for our ability to gather like this in prayer.

It is fitting that we make such prayer. Each day at the law school, we have a common worship period at noon, during which there is daily Mass and several other worship opportunities and/or Bible study on various other days of the week. On at least one morning a week there is morning prayer. And there are also the various retreats and other spiritual formation programs that we offer for all who are interested.

It is fitting that we be conscious of the fact that we have something many people in the world do not have – the freedom to come together and practice our faith. And at the law school, unlike in many places, the gift of an environment where people of different faiths can come together and each feel free to be who they are spiritually.

It is easy to take for granted what we have. To forget that many people live in countries without religious freedom and lack the ability to freely gather in communal worship, but are instead attacked or abused because of their faith.

But, as the students with whom I gathered in prayer yesterday morning recognized, it is not something we should take for granted. Instead, we give thanks.