Dear Sacred Heart Family,
Around the world, this week is being celebrated as the “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.” This celebration began in 1908 by the Graymoor Franciscan Friars who have dedicated their lives to live the words of Jesus, “that they all may be one.” (John 17:21) This week is ecumenical in nature, as it is among Christians, as opposed to inter-faith which is any activity between Christians and non-Christians (Jewish, Muslim, Buddhists, etc.)
Perhaps no Christian denomination feels the pain of separation from other Christians as strongly as Catholics do, since our name means “universal” and any split among us reminds us that we have not fulfilled our calling. This week is a moment to pray for that day of unity and to work to root out any attitudes in ourselves that contribute to the divisions among us.
I have a friend in Alabama who often has a very different view of faith than I do. Yet, we have found a way to overcome this divide. We never lose the fact that what binds us is greater than what divides us. We never lose the desire to pray for one another. It is our love for each other that will always be the force that makes us one. The Graymoor Franciscans have put together this beautiful prayer for this week that I invite you to make this prayer among yourselves and your families:
God of every nation, creator of every human life, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, has been made manifest in human history by becoming one of us and one with us. Born in a stable, born in homelessness, he is our King and Lord. The Magi bore witness to the Light of hope coming into the world as they faithfully followed the star, coming from foreign lands in the East, until arriving in Bethlehem of Judea.
The solidarity of God with created humanity in this gift of Epiphany calls us to a life of solidarity with the homeless, the refugee, the weakest and the rejected. We are all human beings worthy of redemption and prepared by that redeeming love to the glory of your Kingdom. Help us, O gracious Lord, to do this in unity and peace.
As we who bear the name of Christian, from the days of the church at Antioch, hold a special place in our hearts for the ancient Christian communities in the land we call holy, remind us to continually respond to our baptismal promises to you, who said through your Spirit at the Jordan, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
Help your Church, merciful One, to be a light for unity within itself and a beacon of hope for all humanity. We ask this through Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit reign as One God for ever and ever. Amen.
With a heart for Mission,