Friday, January 20, 2012

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

The traditional period in the northern hemisphere for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is January 18-25, originally conceived by Father Paul Wattson of Graymoor.  He wanted this week to reflect the unchanging truth that there can be no real unity apart from union with that Rock, established by Christ Himself, which is Peter and his successors.  This years' Ecumenical Service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2012 comes to us from Poland. An ecumenical group, composed of representatives of the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, Old Catholic and Protestant Churches active in Poland, wrote a liturgy that draws on the experience of Polish Christians who have lived through times of joy and adversity.  The history of Poland has been marked by defeats, victories, invasions, and oppressions, their constant striving to overcome all enslavement and the desire to establish freedom.

The service takes as its theme 1 Corinthians 15:51-58 which speaks of the transformative power of faith in Christ.  As we pray for and strive towards the full visible unity of the church -  we and the traditions to which we belong - will be changed, transformed and conformed to the likeness of Christ.  The unity for which we pray is not merely a "comfortable" notion of friendliness and co-operation.  It requires a willingness to dispense with competition between us.  We need to open ourselves to each other, to offer gifts to and receive gifts from one another, so that we might truly enter into the new life in Christ, which is the only true victory.

As we were making our Eucharistic Holy Hour yesterday praying these prayers for Christian Unity, it became clear to me what a special blessing it is to have the March for Life coincide with this week of Prayer.  To transform ourselves into the likeness of Christ, needs to be a way of life that integrates all christians around the service of God and one's neighbor.  Should it not then find expression in protecting life, giving evidence to the dignity of all people?  It is God's plan "that all may be one, even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they may be one in us." (Jn 17:21)

Join with the Body of Christ in praying that Our Lord's plan for the unity of all christians will be fulfilled, and join us in supporting Life by praying for the end of abortion in our country, that the dignity of all may take priority.

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