Front Row With Francis: On Christian Unity

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the GospelUnity among Christians is a gift from God. Christians must pray for it.  Pope Francis begins His weekly audience with a call to Unity among all Christians. He states:

“We affirm that the Church is one and she is holy. Holy since she is founded by Jesus Christ, enlivened by his Holy Spirit, and filled with His love and salvation.  While we, the members of the Church are sinners, the unity and holiness of the Church arise from God and call us to daily conversion.”

All Christians are children of God and united to God; we are all part of one family. As Christians we are not isolated, but are members of the Mystical Body of Christ. “So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” This is Christ’s priestly prayer, that all may be one.

Pope Francis goes on to say: “Unfortunately, we know well the sins against unity. Jealousy-envy-antipathy- which comes about when we place ourselves at the center and which occur even in our parish communities.”  What is needed to stop this anger and envy that we see in our families, the world, and even the Church? What can we do to stop Christ’s weeping? Jesus tells us in the Gospel of John, “A new commandment I give to you that you love another: even as I have loved you, that you also love another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13: 34-35. CCC.1822-29.)

How did Jesus show this love? Look at the Cross. He gave His life for us. On the cross as he hung in pain he cried out to His Father, “Father forgive them they know not what they do.” With His Blessed Mother standing beneath the cross she looked to her son as he was dying and she silently gave her “Fiat” again.

We must die to self in order to love our neighbors with the Heart of Christ. The church has been compared to Christ’s tunic which was without seam, woven from top to bottom. John 19:23. “The Church should not be divided because it also is without seams.” St. Augustine.

We must all pray for unity for the whole church. That with obedience and promptness we obey our Holy Father Pope Francis and all the bishops in communion with him. If we do this we may fall, but we are on the right path. We may suffer, but we will suffer in union with one another. We may feel the pain of poverty but, as Christians we give without counting the cost.

We may not always like or agree with the teachings of the church, but we all pray in one voice: “Open our eyes Lord to see the truth. Open our hearts Lord so we can hear your silent whisper that says; “Take up your cross and follow me.” Give to us the courage and the gifts of the Holy Spirit to defend in all places Your truth. To live according to your Holy will, whatever it may take from me. To stand for the sanctity and dignity of all human life created in your Image and likeness. Help us respond to your call to pray without ceasing for all those persecuted for their faith throughout the world. To refrain from gossip and speech that wounds another, in this we remain united with our Holy Mother the Catholic Church and she will lead us home.

“Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the will of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 CCC 1965-70

“Let us call upon our Blessed Mother, the Mother of Unity. You, who are the first handmaid of the unity of Christ’s Body, help us; help all the faithful who feel so keenly the tragedy of the historical division of Christianity, to seek persistently the path to the perfect unity of the Body of Christ through unreserved fidelity to the spirit of truth and love.” –St. Pope John Paul II

Let us all stand with Mary our Mother at the foot of the cross and say in “Thy will be done Lord, not mine.”

Tami Schuelke is a homeschooling mother of 7 children.  She is a catechist at her local parish as well as leader of the Bible & Women of Grace Study Programs.
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