This weekend we come to the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The theme for this special week of prayer is “Abide in My Love…You Shall Bear Much Fruit.” It finds its origins in the Gospel of John (cf. John 15: 1-17). Fr. James Loughran, Director of Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute (GEII), and a leader in this call for unity, stated, “Jesus gave his life for all out of his love for all. To abide in His love reminds us that we live in a community celebrating our gift of unity”. He further stated, “In these days of the Coronavirus threat, our world has become smaller. More than ever, we need to appreciate the value of Christian unity.”
During this past week, we were asked to unite in prayer with our Christian brothers and sisters. We were invited to pray for unity among the Christian Churches, and also for peace in our world, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts. With the world in great turmoil, especially due to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus and the ongoing problems in the Middle East, and with divisions within our Churches, Pope Francis has often expressed his desire for Christian unity.
Reflecting on this need for unity, as noted in the publication “The Catholic World Report”, Our Holy Father stated, “the Christian Churches, together with other religious traditions, have a primary duty to offer an example of dialogue, mutual respect, and practical cooperation.” He continued to hope for full communion among Christian Churches, “based on our common faith in Jesus Christ, sent by God the Father to gather all people into one body, and the cornerstone of the one and holy Church, God’s temple, in which all of us are living stones, each according to our own particular charism or ministry bestowed by the Holy Spirit.”
“A Christian Prayer for Unity” by Carl Moeddel, provided by the media outlet “Jesuit Resource” seeks the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we desire to come together:
One only Holy Spirit of Father and Son in whom all are baptized,
one giver of many gifts,
one tree of many fruits,
one speaker of every tongue,
renew in our day the wonders of Pentecost,
grant that people of every race and nation may understand one another,
and as one, proclaim the praises of God.
Grant that all may be one as You, Spirit, with the Father and the Son are one God, one Lord.
Grant unity to the body of Christ,
grant unity to the human family.
Sole breath of every living thing, may all be one who, in You, live and move have their being.
As we reflect on this prayer, and as we answer our call to discipleship in these difficult and uncertain times, we are challenged to continue to pray for unity, especially among our Christian Churches, as we continue on our journey of faith.