Pope: look with hope and renewed determination toward Christian Unity

Pope: look with hope and renewed determination toward Christian Unity

Benedict XVI concludes the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. As Saul became Paul only through God’s intervention, prayer for the unity asks us to “conform” ourselves to His divine will.

Rome (AsiaNews) – “While experiencing these days the painful situation of our divisions, we Christians can and must look to the future with hope, because Christ’s victory means to overcome everything that keeps us from sharing the fullness of life with Him and with others”. At the end of the 45th Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the Pope is urging Christians to hope, but also “to renew their determination to pursue with courage and generosity, the unity that is God’s will.”

Closing the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity this evening with the celebration of Vespers in the basilica of St. Paul, the Pope was joined by Metropolitan Gennadios, representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Canon Richardson, Personal Representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury in Rome, representatives of different churches and ecclesial communities, ecumenical groups, including the Polish groups who choose the theme of this week.

In fact commenting on the theme “All shall be changed by the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ ” (cf. 1 Cor 15.51-58), Benedict XVI noted that “the meaning of this mysterious transformation” in which Saul from a persecutor of the early Church became ” a tireless apostle of the Gospel “of Jesus” is not the result of a long inner reflection and not even the result of personal effort. It is first and foremost by the grace of God who has acted according to his inscrutable ways”.

“This transformation has its basis in our participation in the mystery of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and presents itself as a gradual process of being conformed to Him. In light of this awareness, St. Paul, when he later will be called to defend the legitimacy of his apostolic vocation and the gospel preached by him, will say: ” It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. “(Gal 2.20).St. Paul’s personal experience enables him to wait with grounded hope for the fulfillment of this mystery of transformation, which will come to all those who believed in Jesus Christ but also all of humanity and all of creation. “

” St. Paul tells us, therefore, that every man, through baptism into the death and resurrection of Christ, shares in the victory of the One who first conquered death, beginning a journey of transformation which shows itself even now in a new life and will culminate at the end of time. ” And we, too, the Pope continued, “as we lift our prayers to him, we are confident that we will be transformed and conformed to the image of Christ. This is particularly true in our prayer for Christian unity. In fact, when we plead for the gift of unity of the disciples of Christ, we make ours the desire expressed by Jesus Christ on the eve of his passion and death in the prayer to his Father: “May they all be one” (Jn 17.21). For this reason, the prayer for Christian unity is nothing less than our participation in the realization of his divine plan for the Church, and our active commitment to the restoration of unity is both a duty and a great responsibility for all”.

“While experiencing these days the painful situation of our divisions, we Christians can and must look to the future with hope, because Christ’s victory means to overcome everything that keeps us from sharing the fullness of life with Him and with others. The resurrection of Jesus Christ confirms that the goodness of God overcomes evil, love overcomes death. He accompanies us in the fight against the destructive power of sin that harms humanity and all of God’s creation. The presence of the risen Christ calls all Christians to act together for the common good. United in Christ, we are called to share his mission, which is to bring hope to the places where there is injustice, hatred and despair. Our divisions diminish our witness to Christ. The goal of full unity, which we await with active hope and for which we pray with confidence, it is a secondary victory but important for the good of the human family”.

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