January 18

 Church Unity Octave
January 18 – 25

 Reflection

Since the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church has sought dialogue with other Christian world communions. It seeks to overcome the doctrinal divisions of the past and to find a common voice for the future. This work has been difficult. The temptation is always there to speak unilaterally in disagreement about a wide range of issues facing the world, from beginning- and end-of-life issues, to individual rights, to interreligious dialogue versus “conversion,” to human sexuality and moral behavior.

“The sin of religion is to pronounce every other religion empty and unknowing, deficient and unblessed. It is to ignore the call of God for us through the life and wisdom and spiritual vision of the other. The implication of that kind of closing out the multiple revelations of the mind of God are weighty once we shut our hearts to the other we have shut our hearts to God.”(Joan Chittister).

For Christians, the call to prayer supersedes division. It reminds us that love is more basic than theological differences and that Jesus told us to reconcile with a brother or sister before offering gifts at the altar. This is the beginning of a conversion of heart. That is the purpose of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Prayer

That all may be one.

Action

Meditate on the call of Jesus to his followers to live in unity of love and service.
Reflect on your own religious beliefs and your willingness to be open to the views of others.

Suggested Reading

I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
John 17:20-21

Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,  leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Matthew 5:23-24

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 15:5-6

With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.
Mark10:27

 The union of Christians to Christ, their common head, and by means of the influence they derive from him, one to another, may be illustrated by the loadstone. It not only attracts the particles of iron to itself by the magnetic virtue, but by this virtue it unites them one to another.
Richard Cecil

The unity of Christendom is not a luxury, but a necessity. The World will go limping until Christ’s prayer that all may be one is answered. We must have unity, not at all costs, but at all risks. A unified Church is the only offering we dare present to the coming Christ, for in it alone will He find room to dwell.
Charles H. Brent

 The spiritual life in the believer never has known dissension or break, because where the Spirit has perfect liberty, then they all agree and there is no schism in the body.
Smith Wigglesworth

 

 

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