Today's Wisdom

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair! For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power
Pope Francis

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Concert for Christian Unity! Is it Enough?

This past Sunday March 23, 2014 we watched a beautiful concert at Jesus the King Church in Toronto, performed by brilliant musicians from Lithuania and choir members of Jesus the King choirs. How could Fr. Georges Farah get the organizers and participants to spend so much time in preparation is another story. The concert included works by Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as well as less well-known composers, but significantly enough Fr. Farah sang the Byzantine Christian glorious hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary "Axion Estin" in such a wonderful Greek melody. It was appropriate since the Church was starting its celebration of the Feast of the Annunciation. Listen to one choir singing it here.
This was an opportunity for an encounter and collaboration (through music) between Eastern Christianity and Western Christianity. What more beautiful hymn can the choir sing other than Mozart's Ave verum which they did on that afternoon. Listen to one choir singing it here.
And if the beauty of Corpus Christi is such a foretaste of heaven, what would be the real heaven? I can only refer the reader to the article titled Why the Beloved is Beautiful which lifts us with the words of St. Gertrude the Great when Christ spoke to her soul - Thus she wrote "Then I understood the meaning contained in those sweet and ineffable words: 'God will be all in all' (1 Cor. 15:28); and my soul, which was enriched by the presence of my Beloved, soon knew, by its transports of joy, that it possessed the presence of her Spouse. Then she received these words with exceeding avidity which were presented as a delicious beverage to satisfy the ardor of its thirst: 'As I am the figure of the substance of God, My Father, in His Divinity, so also you shall be the figure of My substance in My Humanity, receiving in your deified soul the infusion of My Divinity, as the air receives the brightness of the solar rays, that these rays may penetrate you so intimately as to prepare you for the closest union with Me'."
Is not this a sign of the call today to Christians for their mission and unity?
Get our children to learn and enjoy the everlasting angelic hymns. Give our kids hope in the mercy of God. Help them realize the wonders of a loving Father...
As if I was dreaming of Christian unity, I woke up to the reality of divided Christendom over a piece of land. I was reminded by the conflict in Ukraine between the Christian West and the Christian East. What a waste of resources! What a waste of talents! Why Can't the leaders of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church agree? Or is this above our heads? But the historical wounds are deeper than what we know in spite of much dialogue between Churches for over 50 years.  Pray that the conflict ends between Russia and the Western world. Remember too that this Easter in April Catholics and Orthodox will celebrate the death and Resurrection of Christ together, and in May Catholic and Orthodox leaders headed by Pope Francis and  Ecumenical Patriarch of Orthodoxy Bartholomew will meet in Jerusalem 50 years after the first meeting between Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I, both of venerable memory, in 1964.
What role can our Christian leaders play in the visit of Pope Francis to Jerusalem? Or can they play a role? Let me suggest that our venerable patriarchs and bishops who will receive Pope Francis in Jerusalem remind him of the need to act as he said in his Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. At least the Holy See can order the rich Catholic dioceses in America and Canada to financially support the Vatican's efforts for economically helping the poor and persecuted Eastern Christians in the Middle East including those in Turkey where the Ecumenical Patriarch of Orthodoxy resides. It would be great if Patriarch Kirill the Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia meet also with the Pope in Jerusalem and take action to influence the ending of the drama in Ukraine. If Patriarch Kirill is convinced that he can contribute to the restoration of Christian unity, he will listen to Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew. Are we dreaming?

Today's Quote

"Behold I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)


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