"Let unity, the greatest good of all goods, be your preoccupation." - St. Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to St. Polycarp)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Year of St. Paul, Year of Ecumenism

Sherry Weddell notes that the Year of St. Paul, commemorating the 2,000th anniversary of his birth, is about to begin. She quotes a Vatican report which states that:

The most important aspect of the year will be its emphasis on Christian unity. Cardinal Lanza di Montezemolo, rector of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls (site of St. Paul's tomb) says "The year will allow everyone to pray for the unity of Christians. This aspect is very important for the Holy Father and he has recommended that we have this always in mind in everything we do."

The Holy See announced recently that the first Mass of the Pauline year, on June 29, will be ecumenical, in that "Bartholomew I and the Holy Father will deliver the homily, recite the profession of faith and impart the final blessing."

When I see this much interaction and cooperation between Pope Benedict and Patriarch Bartholomew I, I can't but be both amazed and full of hope, for surely this is the Lord's doing. He wants His children to be reconciled to each other, and for all Christians to be united as He and the Father are one.

During this year of ecumenicism, let us keep praying for reconciliation and reunion between Christians of the various sects and traditions. And let us keep talking, in true charity (which desires unity with the beloved), with those with whom we are not in full communion, both about what we have in common (e.g. deep love for Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior), and about what fundamentally still divides us. Jesus tells us, "blessed [i.e. happy] are the peacemakers". True peacemakers are not those who sweep differences under the rug. True peacemakers are those who bring true reconciliation and agreement between those who are divided. This requires meekness, humility and lots of patience and determination. We never sacrifice truth for unity, but pursue unity in truth, with all charity. True peacemakers have true beatitude, for we get to be instruments of God's peace and reconciliation.

He is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think. (Eph 3:20) Let's ask big for this year of ecumenicism. Let's be courageous. We will be insulted and scorned, but let us offer these to Christ, for only in this life do we get a chance to suffer for Christ. And the joy of reconciliation far outweighs the insults we may endure. If we each only reconciled with two other Christians from whom we are presently divided, and they subsequently did the same, and so on, in a very short time we (by the grace of God) will have "turned the world upside down". (Acts 17:6)

1 comment:

Oso Famoso said...

Great. Great. Great.