Five years ago today, I decided to seek full communion with the Catholic Church. This was three days after Pope Benedict's election as the 265th successor of St. Peter, and two days after Pope Benedict, in his first message as Pope, said the following:
Nourished and sustained by the Eucharist, Catholics cannot but feel encouraged to strive for the full unity for which Christ expressed so ardent a hope in the Upper Room. The Successor of Peter knows that he must make himself especially responsible for his Divine Master's supreme aspiration. Indeed, he is entrusted with the task of strengthening his brethren (cf. Lk 22: 32).
With full awareness, therefore, at the beginning of his ministry in the Church of Rome which Peter bathed in his blood, Peter's current Successor takes on as his primary task the duty to work tirelessly to rebuild the full and visible unity of all Christ's followers. This is his ambition, his impelling duty. He is aware that good intentions do not suffice for this. Concrete gestures that enter hearts and stir consciences are essential, inspiring in everyone that inner conversion that is the prerequisite for all ecumenical progress.
Theological dialogue is necessary; the investigation of the historical reasons for the decisions made in the past is also indispensable. But what is most urgently needed is that "purification of memory", so often recalled by John Paul II, which alone can dispose souls to accept the full truth of Christ. Each one of us must come before him, the supreme Judge of every living person, and render an account to him of all we have done or have failed to do to further the great good of the full and visible unity of all his disciples.
The current Successor of Peter is allowing himself to be called in the first person by this requirement and is prepared to do everything in his power to promote the fundamental cause of ecumenism. Following the example of his Predecessors, he is fully determined to encourage every initiative that seems appropriate for promoting contacts and understanding with the representatives of the different Churches and Ecclesial Communities. Indeed, on this occasion he sends them his most cordial greeting in Christ, the one Lord of us all.
Pray to God that many young men and women would rise to this call, and join with Pope Benedict in rebuilding the full and visible unity of all Christ's followers, through the charitable pursuit of truth and peace in Christ. May this be our ambition, and our impelling duty. May the heart of the Shepherd be the heart of Christ's sheep. As Pope Benedict said, each of us will come before Christ to give an account to Him of all that we have done or have failed to do to further the great good of the full and visible unity of all His disciples. May our labor of love now be such that on that Day we are not ashamed.
Video H/T: dans la tradition