Pope: Christian unity comes from God, but requires our daily commitment
Pope invites large turn-out for Vespers of January 25 in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls for the conclusion of the Week for Christian unity. Best wishes to the peoples of the Far East for the Lunar New Year.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "The visible unity of all Christians is always the work of above, of God, a work that requires the humility to recognize our weakness and to welcome the gift. However, to use an expression frequently expressed by Blessed Pope John Paul II, every gift becomes commitment. The unity that comes from God requires, therefore, our daily commitment to be open to one another in love” is the message of Benedict XVI in his reflection before the Sunday Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square.
The pope wanted to devote his own short address to unity, as this Sunday falls during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18-25), inviting everyone to participate in "large numbers" in the vespers that will be held on the 25th in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, where representatives of other Christian Churches will also be present.
Benedict XVI also briefly commented on this year's theme: "All shall be changed by the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Cor 15.51-58). "We are called - he said - to contemplate Christ's victory over sin and death, his resurrection as an event that transforms those who believe in Him and opens them up to an incorruptible and immortal life. Recognizing and accepting the transforming power of faith in Jesus Christ, sustains Christians in their search for full unity. "
This year, the theme and reflection for the week was chosen and prepared by a Polish group. "The words of the aforementioned theme - explained the pope - have a particular resonance and relevance for Poland. Over the centuries, Polish Christians have spontaneously understood a spiritual dimension in their desire for freedom and have realized that the true victory can only come if accompanied by a profound inner transformation. They remind us that our search for unity can be conducted in a realistic way if the change takes place primarily in ourselves if we allow God to act, if we allow ourselves to be transformed to the image of Christ, if we enter into new life in Christ, which is the real victory . The visible unity of all Christians is always the work that comes from above, from God, which requires humility to recognize our weakness and to accept the gift".
"For many decades - he added - the Week of Prayer for Christian unity is a central element in the ecumenical activity of the Church. The time we devote to prayer for the full communion of the disciples of Christ will enable us to understand more deeply how we can be transformed by his victory, the power of his resurrection. "
Recalling the appointment of January 25 in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, Benedict XVI concluded: "I invite you in great numbers to this encounter so that together we can renew our liturgical prayer to the Lord, source of unity. We entrust this from the outset, with filial confidence, to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. "
After the Marian prayer, the pontiff expressed his best wishes to the peoples of the Far East who tomorrow will celebrate the Lunar New Year, which this year is under the sign of the Dragon. "In these days - he said - various countries of the Far East will celebrate the Lunar New Year with joy. In the present world situation of economic and social crisis, for all those people I hope that the new year is marked by justice and peace, bringing relief to those who suffer, and that especially young people, with their enthusiasm, ideals and drive, can offer new hope to the world. "