Friday, January 22, 2016

Ecumenism and Week for Prayer for Christian Unity


Each year in most of the countries where Christianity is present we have the Unity Octave or Prayer for Christian Unity from January 18-25. This year's theme is taken from 1 Peter 2:9-10.  "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."

  This year the material was prepared by the Christians of Latvia based on the passage from St. Peter's first letter where we are asked to proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord. Themes for each day are listed below.

  Day 1: Let the stone be rolled away

Day 2: Called to be messengers of Joy

Day 3: The witness of fellowship

Day 4: A priestly people called to proclaim the Gospel

Day 5: The fellowship of the Apostles 

Day 6: Listen to this dream

Day 7: Hospitality for prayer

Day 8: Hearts burning for unity

  Week of prayer has a history of over a hundred years and since many different religious Christian groups met together to compose the  prayers, expectations of all the parties may not be satisfied. All know, however, that the objective is to bring about the wish of Jesus that we be one as he is one with the Father.

  "May they all be one. Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me" (John 17: 21).

  Korea is an example of ecumenism at the highest level that hopefully will be spread throughout the whole of Christianity. Emphasizing what  we hold in common, and praying  we may come to a common understanding of what separates us, and work to achieve unity the Spirit wants. 

  The editorial in the Catholic Times reminds the readers that Catholicism entered Korea 230 years ago and Protestantism 130 years ago. We need to reflect deeply  on the path we are called to walk as disciples of Jesus, and do all we can to heal the wounds we have inflicted on the mystical body of Christ.