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

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Need for Unity

It is urgent that Christians pray for their unity and their leaders communicate to overcome the little differences, that though could touch on dogmatic declarations are not an obstacle to the full communion.

Fr. Pio Farah, a Franciscan priest who is a personal friend since the early 1970s and now serving in Egypt, sent his monthly newsletter for December 2016 in Arabic where he makes the case for the importance of prayers to God, because prayer directs our works to God who blesses them.

Jesus Christ himself prayed to his Father before his disciples were scattered upon his arrest. In his prayer Christ asks the Father to keep his disciples together "so that they may be one as we are one" (John 17: 22). This has been the prayer of the Church across generations together with preaching the good news of the Gospel. It is a prayer connected to faith and grace. In history two Councils promulgated union between the Roman Catholic Church and the Byzantine Orthodox Churches: The Second Council of Lyon in the 13th century (see and The Council of Florence (see in the 15th century. However, the union of both did not last.

In the 20th century, Saint John XXIII (known as the good pastor) continued the efforts started by leaders of other Christian communions for Christian unity. He convoked the Second Vatican Council in 1962 with the goal of renewing the Church in her relations including "separated brothers." His successors continued his hope and prayer for unity. The "Week of Prayer for Christian Unity" has since been established (January 18 - January 25).

In May 2013, Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II visited Pope Francis in the Vatican in commemorating the 50th anniversary of his predecessor's visit to Pope Paul VI. He was greeted by Pope Francis with hugs at the door of his residence. Upon Francis request, the Coptic Orthodox Bishops sang together the ancient Coptic hymn of the Doxology.

In 2014, Pope Francis visited the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in the Church of St. George, where Francis humbly asked Bartholomew I to bless him "and the Church of Rome"and reassured Orthodox faithful that "to reach the desired goal of full unity the Catholic Church does not intend to impose any conditions except that of the shared profession of faith". 

Against fundamentalism and extremism, I invite my readers to read this article published in CERC where the author investigates the development of faith and perseverance of committed Christians in the Catholic Church:

In a polarized world, the Christian communities mostly threatened are those in the Middle East. For the preservation of Christianity in the Middle East and in the rest of the world, Christians need to pray for their unity as we expect the coming of Christ at Christmas.  

Today's Quote

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


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