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Why unity is more effective when God is involved

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Philip Kosloski - published on 05/11/21

Many desire unity, but when it is divorced from God, it is nearly impossible to achieve.

There is much division in our world today. This is an undeniable fact and many are working around the world to achieve a greater unity.

However, almost all of these efforts appear to fail shortly after they are initiated.

Why is that?

One of the reasons, according to St. Cyril of Alexandria, is because authentic unity can only be achieved with God.

He explains this in a commentary on the gospel of John that is featured in the Church’s Office of Readings.

If we are all the same body with one another in Christ – not just with one another, but with him who, through communion with his flesh, is actually within us – are we not then all of us clearly one with one another and one with Christ? For Christ is the bond that unites us, being at once God and Man.

Unity is possible in this world, but it must be made with and through God.

St. Cyril continues by highlighting the role of the Holy Spirit in unity.

Following the same line of thought, we can say this about spiritual unity: we all receive one and the same Spirit, I mean the Holy Spirit. So in a way we are blended together with one another and with God. Even though we are many individuals and Christ, the Spirit of the Father and his own Spirit, dwells in each one of us individually, still the Spirit is really one and indivisible. And so that one Spirit binds together the separated spirits of each one of us so that we are seen to be one, together in Christ.  Just as the power of Christ’s holy flesh makes into one body everyone in whom it exists, in the same way the Spirit of God, being indivisible, ties together the spirits in which it dwells.

Furthermore, we can solidify this unity by abandoning our old ways and embracing the way of the Gospel.

There is another way to show that we are united through sharing in the Holy Spirit. If we abandon living as mere animals and surrender ourselves wholly to the laws of the Spirit, it is surely beyond question that by effectively denying our own life and taking upon ourselves the transcendent likeness of the Holy Spirit who is joined to us, we are practically transformed into another nature. We are no longer mere men, but sons of God and citizens of Heaven, through becoming partakers of the divine nature.

Unity is possible in this world, but a true and lasting unity can only be established through a unity with God combined with virtuous living.

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