Archdiocese of Chicago

Cardinal George's Network Archive

Monday, January 25, 2010

Christian Unity

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity comes this year during acrimonious disputes in the country and in the Church.  While praying for unity among all those who call Jesus “Lord,” I also find myself praying for deeper unity among Catholics themselves.  The causes of disunity are many, and many are discussed.  Less often discussed is the nature of the unity Christ wants us to enjoy.

The unity Jesus prayed for and promised is a gift, which is why prayer is the way to attain it.  We have to desire it and ask for it, since it is beyond our capacity to create it.  The gift itself brings unity in faith or truth, unity in worship and sacramental life, and unity in visible governance.  All these topics remain cause for dispute, not only among Christian faith communities but also within the Catholic Church.  Sometimes Catholics seem to resist greater unity because it calls them to change, to give up a personal conviction or a habit of life, to find unity of mind and heart with God’s will.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is basically, therefore, a time to pray for the conversion of all of us.  It takes courage to ask for that gift.

Francis Cardinal George, OMI

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