Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
18-25 January 2014
From 18 to 25 January, the Church celebrates the Week for Christian Unity, a time of reflection and prayer in union with the Christians of all denominations, enhanced this year by the memory of the 50th anniversary of the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople on 5 January, 1964.
This week, the Community of Sant'Egidio, anywhere in the world, dedicates the prayer meetings that gather every Community to the invocation of unity and promotes prayers and ecumenical meetings.
Click to learn about the events in : Boston | Rome | Naples | Genoa
Meditation for the Unity Week
Jesus, looking at his disciples, at the time of leaving, prayed "so that they may be one". He had said long ago: "I and the Father are one". Perhaps, looking at their faces, he had realised how different they were and how this could have divided them. Then, at the time of the arrest, Jesus reveals his dream and his hope for his disciples: "so that they may be one". Like God, the Father Almighty, Lord of the world, is one with Jesus of Nazareth, he prays that his disciples also enter into the unity of this family. So that they may be one!
But we Christians are divided. Our churches and communities are divided. They are not only different. Different in the songs, forms of prayer, in the ways of life. Many believers would not be able to explain why these communities and these churches are divided.
|Icona dei Testimoni della Fede del XX Secolo, particolare - Basilica di San Bartolomeo all'Isola Tiberina, Roma
||One could say that the responsibility for these divisions and so much misunderstanding belongs to people from the past and distant moments in history.
One day the spirit of division entered. Yet the divisions are still among us.
Jesus prayed also for us. In fact, the divisions are in our hearts. They are not theologies, but attitudes towards one another.
We too are often actors of the division, insensitivity, misunderstanding! We are called to respond to the prayer of Jesus because we are one, we are called to respond in our lives, every day. But how?
Let us renounce the arrogant dictatorship of our self, calculation, insensitivity... We renounce the ignorance of the other: living without love. We all must be converted to love, ridding ourselves of this old world consolidated within us, of this armor that keeps us away and hurts. We all must converted with a strong prayer to Jesus, our Lord, who loved us and opens us to the life of love. We read in the First Letter of John:
"Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and he in God. We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him." (1 John 4: 15-16)
We are all called to heal the great fractures of the world, of everyday life, of our environments: those that divide kind and unkind, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, men from women, ethnicity from ethnicity, group from group, mine from theirs, my family from their family, Christians from Christians, Christians from Jews, Christians from Muslims ... The path we walk on is full of these fractures. Our house has these fractures. Our workplace has these fractures. We are called to heal them with love. Let us not make war on anyone with our weapons, in this time of war for the world.
In this difficult world, let us overcome evil with good: with the good of love, with the good of prayer, with the good of hope, that hope in the Lord Jesus that always listens to us, that will come soon and that will give us peace.
Let us be one in love: let us make a love covenant with each other. Diverse in the stories, in the languages, in spirituality, in customs, in appearance ... Let us be one in love between us believers. Let us be one among Christians and hatred and war will be overcome by love.
From this love a force of unity will emerge! In the Byzantine liturgy, the deacon says before introducing the profession of faith , the Creed:
"Let us love one another, so that our faith professes in unity of spirit."
Yes, in this Unity Week, let us begin to truly love, so that we may profess the same faith in unity of spirit.