Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pope Benedict on Seeking Christian Unity

Most Christians in the world are currently in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (which in Australia is observed between Ascension Day and Pentecost on account of our summer holiday exodus mitigating against the success of any organised Church events in January). Here is Pope Benedict's message given at Wednesday's General Audience:


Dear brothers and sisters:

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity began last Sunday and will conclude this Sunday, feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, the Apostle. This is a beautiful spiritual initiative, which is spreading more and more among Christians, in harmony, and we could say, in response to the pressing invocation that Jesus directed to the Father from the Upper Room: "That they may all be one, that the world may believe that you sent me" (John 17:21).

On four occasions during this priestly prayer, the Lord asks that his disciples be one, according to the image of the unity between the Father and the Son. This is a unity that can only grow in the example of the surrender of the Son to the Father, that is, going out of oneself and uniting oneself to Christ. Twice, moreover, in this prayer, Jesus adds as the objective of this union: That the world may believe. Full unity is connected, therefore with the life and the very mission of the Church in the world. [The Church] should live a unity that can only be derived from her unity with Christ, with its transcendence, as a sign that Christ is the truth.

This is our responsibility: That the gift of unity be visible for the world, in virtue of which our faith is made credible. For this, it is important that each Christian community become aware of the urgency of working in every way possible to reach this grand objective. Only going out of ourselves and toward Christ, only in this relationship with him can we come to be truly united among ourselves. This is the invitation that, with the present week [of prayer], is directed to believers in Christ of every Church and ecclesial community; to him, dear brothers and sisters, we should respond with generosity.

This year, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity proposes for our meditation and prayer words taken from the book of the prophet Ezekiel: "That They May Become One in Your Hand" (37:17) . . .

Click HERE to read the rest of Pope Benedict's address.


Post a Comment