This week the church asks us to pray for Christian unity. What does that mean? Why do we pray for Christian unity? As Christ said to God Our Father “they may all be one, as we are one” (Jo 17, 21) we have to look not to the things that keep us separated as Christians, but to the One who unites all of us.
As Christians our faith is centered on Christ; His word and His teachings are what Catholics believe and where we get the inspiration for our faith. Not only Catholics are inspired by Him. All other Christian confessions believe in the word of Christ. It is those words, those teachings that unite us.
Christian unity means being conscious that everyone who believes in Christ is walking together along the same path. We are committed to that unity and so we announce the presence of Christ in our midst.
We’ve probably all already heard the word ecumenism, which in its Greek origin means the whole inhabited world; this word is used to describe all the efforts to unite the Christians churches. In fact, ecumenism is normally represented by the symbol of a boat at sea, on top of a wave, with a cross in the place of the sail. It is a way to show that it is Christ who gives us direction.
We have to make an effort to live ecumenism and look to our brothers and sisters from other Christian confessions as companions on the same path. However, we also have to live spiritual ecumenism - which means being united in the intimate relationship we all have with God. What is more intimate than prayer? This is why we have a Week of Prayer for Christian Unity which takes place this week. The theme for this year’s week is "We will all be Changed" (1 Cor 15, 51-58), and that is why in every corner of the world people of different Christian confessions are gathering to pray together.
In a week when the Church asks us to pray for unity between all Christians, Pedro invited Rev. Karen Hamilton, General Secretary of the Canadian Council of Churches, and Fr. Damian MacPherson, SA, director of the Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs of the Archdiocese of Toronto, to speak about ecumenism and to clarify what exactly is Christian unity. Watch Perspectives Weekly
this Friday to learn more.