In his recent historic visit to the United States, Pope Francis spoke about this “dream” of Dr. King in his address to the United States Congress. Our Holy Father stated, “That dream continues to inspire all. I am happy that America continues to be, for many, a land of ‘dreams’, dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment, dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people.” In honoring the legacy of Dr. King, we recognize the great strides that our country has made in overcoming the racial injustices of the past as hearts and minds have been changed. We also realize that much still needs to be done to heal the wounds and divisions that continue to exist.
As we reflect on the contributions of Dr. King, this Wednesday we also begin the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. And during this week, we are asked to unite in prayer with our Christian brothers and sisters. We are invited to pray for peace in our world, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts. We are also invited to pray in support of the inherent value of all human life.
In commenting on the need for unity and prayer, Pope Francis stated, “If we do not walk together, if we do not pray for one another, if we do not collaborate in the many ways that we can in this world, for the people of God, then unity will not come about.” He reminded us that dialogue and collaboration are essential, but unity will be not the result of human effort, “but rather of the Holy Spirit, who sees our good will.”
We are challenged to heed the words of Our Holy Father and reflect on the example of Dr. King as we strive to truly unite in prayer for our nation and our world.