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Pope prays for unity and reconciliation among Christians

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  • Rev. Dn. Prince Mannathoor
    On Saturday afternoon, at the Roman basilica of St. Paul s Outside- the-Walls, the Holy Father marked the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity by
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 27, 2009
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      On Saturday afternoon, at the Roman basilica of St. Paul's Outside-
      the-Walls, the Holy Father marked the end of the Week of Prayer for
      Christian Unity by presiding over the second Vespers of the Feast of
      the Conversion of St. Paul. The Pope reminded his audience that is
      only by allowing ourselves to be conquered by the love of Christ that
      true unity can be achieved.

      The ceremony, which this year coincided with the two thousandth
      anniversary of the birth of the Apostle, was attended by cardinals
      and bishops, as well as by representatives from other Churches and
      ecclesial communities.

      In Pope Benedict's homily, he reflected upon the conversion of St.
      Paul, saying "it presents us with a model of, and shows us the way
      to, full unity" which, "calls for conversion: from division to
      communion, from a lacerated unity, to a restored and complete unity."

      The conversion of the Apostle to the Gentiles "was not a move from
      immorality to morality, from an erroneous faith to a correct faith,
      rather it was the fact of being conquered by the love of Christ, of
      renouncing one's own perfection. It was the humility of one who
      placed himself unreservedly at the service of Christ for his brothers
      and sisters. And it is only in this self-renunciation, in this
      conformity to Christ, that we also become united to one another, that
      we become 'one' in Christ. It is communion with the risen Christ that
      gives us unity."

      The Pontiff continued, "Of course, the unity that God gives His
      Church, and for which we pray, is communion in a spiritual sense, in
      faith and in charity; yet we know that this unity in Christ is also a
      ferment for fraternity at a social level, in relations between
      nations and among the entire human family."

      Benedict XVI then pointed out that "where human words are powerless
      because the tragic noise of violence and arms prevails, the prophetic
      power of the Word of God does not fail but repeats to us that peace
      is possible, and that we must be instruments of reconciliation and
      peace. Hence our prayer for unity and peace must always be backed up
      by courageous gestures of reconciliation among us Christians."

      The Holy Father recalled that fifty years ago, Blessed John
      XXIII "first expressed his desire to call 'an ecumenical Council for
      the Universal Church'," which led to "a fundamental contribution to
      ecumenism, as recapitulated in the Decree 'Unitatis redintegratio'."

      He continued, "The attitude of interior conversion to Christ, of
      spiritual renewal, of increased charity towards other Christians, has
      given rise to a new situation in ecumenical relations. The fruits of
      theological dialogue, with its points of agreement and with a more
      exact understanding of remaining differences, encourage us to
      continue courageously in two directions: in accepting what has been
      achieved and in a renewed commitment to the future."

      "What remains before us is the horizon of complete unity," Benedict
      XVI concluded. "This is a demanding but stimulating task for
      Christians who wish to live in harmony with the prayer of the
      Lord: 'that they may all be one, that the world may believe'
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