Finding the Sacred on the Metro
On a recent Friday, my team was asked to come into work earlier than usual for a special training. Though not much of a morning person, I relished in the fact that the sun was still low, and I hadn’t yet melted on my way to the metro as on most summer days.
My train arrived right on time and because of the early hour, I was able to snag a seat unlike most mornings. When I sat down, I noticed the women next to me had her phone propped up on her purse where she was following along with a YouTube video reciting the rosary in Spanish. I couldn’t help but smile as I sat beside my sister in Christ listening to the Franciscans Friars of Renewal’s Poco a Poco Podcast, pausing for prayer and reflection. Albeit a small moment, I felt the Lord was present in that moment on the metro.
In particular, three things came to mind.
First, I felt, in this moment, the universality of the church. This woman, whose name I did not and will not ever know, with whom I did not share a common language, and sat with only briefly, is someone to whom I am united intimately. We are members of the Body of Christ and there’s a power in knowing that. It fortifies us knowing we are not alone as we brace to enter the world which is so often hostile to our faith.
Second, a bit of scripture came into my mind, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18: 20). When I hear this scripture, my initial reaction is to picture the traditional places we gather to pray: at church, perhaps a Bible study, or even gathered around a table before a meal. The metro does not immediately come to mind. And yet, in the quiet of the morning, she and I were praying together at the same time. In that moment, Jesus was present with us during our commute.
Third, this woman’s quiet witness checked me for all of the times I’ve needed the “right” set up to start praying. I need to be in the right mood, have a candle lit, have the perfect amount of quiet (Heaven forbid one of the neighbors is making too much noise or the laundry machine is going!) Finally, when all the conditions are going and I feel the spirit, I can enter into quiet contemplate prayer. This, however, is not what we’re called to do. Paul writes in the Thessalonians, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5: 17). Pray even when the metro wheels are squeaking. Pray even when you didn’t sleep the night before. Pray even when you’re all crunched up in a tiny metro car with sweaty people trying to make it to work.
My metro ride with my sister in Christ reminded me of just how often God is trying to speak to us in the mundane. He is present to us always, even on the metro.
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