01/20/2021, 10.48
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Pope: dialogue is not enough for Christian unity, we need to pray

Call to "work with determination to promote the conditions necessary for a world without nuclear weapons". "To pray means to fight for unity. Yes, to fight, because our enemy, the devil, as the word itself says, is the divider. The devil always divides, it is convenient for him”.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Pray for that unity of believers in Christ which was "we could say his spiritual testament" and for which "diplomatic efforts and academic dialogue are not enough. They must be done, but they are not enough”, instead we need to pray.

In the current Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Pope Francis dedicated the catechesis for the general audience - still held in the private library - to "invoking from God the gift of unity to overcome the scandal of divisions among believers in Jesus".

At the end of the meeting, Francis, recalling that the Treaty for the production of nuclear weapons enters into force on January 22, launched an appeal to "work with determination to promote the necessary conditions for a world without nuclear weapons, contributing to the advancement peace and multilateral collaboration, which humanity needs so much today”.

Previously, in his catechesis, Francis first of all emphasized that Jesus " did not command that His disciples be united. No, He prayed to the Father for us, so that we might be one. This means that we are not able to achieve unity with our own strength. Above all, unity is a gift, it is a grace to be requested through prayer."

Already St. Paul, the Pope later observed, realized that he had in himself "felt a painful conflict within himself: wanting the good but inclined toward evil (see Rm 7:19). ". "The root of so many divisions that surround us – between people, in families, in society, between nations and even between believers – and inside us." As the Council also said.

“Therefore, the solution to these divisions is not to oppose someone, because discord generates more discord. The true remedy begins by asking God for peace, reconciliation, unity. This is valid, first of all, for Christians. Unity can be achieved only as a fruit of prayer. Diplomatic efforts and academic dialogue are not enough. Jesus knew this and opened the way for us by praying. Our prayer for unity is thus a humble but trusting participation in the Lord’s prayer, who promised that any prayer said in His name would be heard by the Father (see Jn 15:7)."

" At this point, we can ask ourselves: “Do I pray for unity?” It is Jesus’s will but, if we inspect the intentions for which we pray, we would probably realize that we have prayed little, perhaps never, for Christian unity. And yet, the world’s faith depends on it; in fact, the Lord asked that we be one “so that the world might believe” (Jn 17:21). The world will not believe because we will have convinced it with good arguments, but because we will have borne witness to that love that unites us and draws us near to everyone. During this time of serious hardship, this prayer is even more necessary so that unity might prevail over conflicts. It is urgent that we set aside preferences to promote the common good, and so our good example is fundamental: it is essential that Christians pursue the path toward full visible unity.”

" In the last decades, thanks be to God, there have been many steps forward, but we still need to persevere in love and in prayer, without lacking trust or tiring. It is the path that the Holy Spirit gave rise to, and from which there is no turning back. To pray means to fight for unity. Yes, fight, because our enemy, the devil, is the one who divides, as the word itself says. He fosters division everywhere and in any way, while the Holy Spirit always joins in unity. In general, the devil does not tempt us with high theology, but with the weaknesses of our brothers and sisters. He is astute: he magnifies others’ mistakes and defects, sows discord, provokes criticism and creates factions. God’s has another way: He takes us as we are, different, sinners, and nudges us towards unity. We can evaluate ourselves and ask ourselves if, in the places in which we live, we nurture conflict or fight for an increase of unity with the tools that God has given us: prayer and love."

"The theme of this Week of Prayer specifically regards love: “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit” (see Jn 15:5-9). The root of communion and love is Christ who makes us overcome our prejudices to see in others a brother or sister to be loved always. Then we will discover that the Christians of other confessions – with their traditions, with their history – are gifts from God, they are gifts present within the territories of our diocesan and parish communities. Let us begin to pray for them and, when possible, with them. We will thus learn to love and appreciate them. Prayer, the Council reminds us, is the soul of every ecumenical movement (see Unitatis redintegratio, 8). May it be the point of departure to help Jesus make His dream come true: that they all may be one.”

A thought and a prayer "for those suffering from the pandemic, especially in Manaus, in the north of Brazil" were finally remembered by Francis in his greeting to the Portuguese-speaking faithful.

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