Week of Prayer for Christians' Unity
January 18-25, 2009
During the Week for Christians' Unity,
the Community of Sant'Egidio, wherever it is,
devotes to the invocation for unity its evening prayer meetings,
that gather every community.
Meditation for the Week for Unity
Looking at his disciples when he was about to leave them, Jesus prayed “that they may become completely one.” Just before he said, “The Father and I are one.” Maybe looking at their faces, Jesus realized how much different they were one from the other and how this could have divided them. Then at the moment of being arrested Jesus reveals his dream and his hope for his disciple: that they may be one. As God, the Father Almighty, Lord of the world, is one with Jesus of Nazareth, he prays that his disciples may join the unity of this family. That they may be one!
And yet, we Christians are divided, our Churches and communities are divided. Not only are they different: different in the songs, in the forms of prayer, and in the ways of living. Many believers would not be able to explain the reason of this division among communities and Churches. We could say that the responsibility of these divisions and misunderstandings belong to people of the past and to moments far in history. One day the spirit of division entered among the believers. And yet, divisions are still among us.
Jesus prayed also for us. And indeed divisions are in our hearts; not only theologies but also attitudes of the one towards the other are divided.
Often we too are actors of division, of insensitivity, of misunderstanding! We are called to answer Jesus’ prayer that we may be one: we are called to answer in our life, everyday. But how?
Let us renounce the arrogant dictatorship of self, our calculations, our insensitivity… Let us renounce being ignorant about the other and living without love. We should all convert to love, stripping ourselves of the old and consolidated world that is within us, of the armor that keeps people away and wounds them. In the first letter to John we read: “God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.” (1 Jn 4:15-16)
We are all called to heal the great fractures of this world, of daily life, of our environments: those fractures that divide those who are nice from those who are not, the poor from the rich, the educated from the ignorant, men from women, ethnic groups from ethnic group, group from group, mine from theirs, those who are mine from those who are his, Christians from Christians, Christians from Jews, Christians from Muslims … The path we walk along is full of these fractures. Our home has these fractures. Our working place has these fractures. We are called to heal them with love. Let us not move war to anyone with our weapons, in a time of war for the world.
Our time is a difficult one. There are wars in many parts of the world. In Iraq, Holy Land, in many parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. There are natural calamities. Many men and women are suffering.
In this difficult world, let us defeat evil with good: with the good of love, with the good of prayer, with the good of hope, that hope in the Lord Jesus who always listens to us, and who will come soon and will give us peace.
Let us be one in love: let us make a pact of love with one another. Different in stories, in languages, in spirituality, in habits, in appearance… Let us be one in love among us believers. Let us be one among Christians and hatred and war will be defeated by love.
A force of unity will spring from this love! In the byzantine liturgy before the profession of faith, the deacon says: “Let us love one another, so that in unity of spirit we may profess our faith,”
Yes, in this Week of Unity let us start loving one another truly, so that we may profess our same faith in unity of spirit.