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John Paul II’s 3 keys to Christian unity

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Patriarch Bartholomew AND POPE JOHN PAUL II

PATRICK HERTZOG | AFP

Philip Kosloski - published on 01/18/22

St. John Paul II briefly mentions how prayer, gratitude and hope are the three keys to establishing Christian unity.

St. John Paul II was one of the biggest advocates for Christian unity during his pontificate. He worked tirelessly to talk with Christians from all corners of the globe and to work with them to find common ground.

He wrote extensively on this topic in his encyclical Ut Unum Sint, reflecting on the history of Christian unity and looking forward in hope to the day when “all will be one.”

At the end of his encyclical, St. John Paul II briefly reflects on three keys he saw to the eventual establishment of Christian unity.

1Prayer

The power of God’s Spirit gives growth and builds up the Church down the centuries. As the Church turns her gaze to the new millennium, she asks the Spirit for the grace to strengthen her own unity and to make it grow towards full communion with other Christians.

How is the Church to obtain this grace? In the first place, through prayer. Prayer should always concern itself with the longing for unity, and as such is one of the basic forms of our love for Christ and for the Father who is rich in mercy. In this journey which we are undertaking with other Christians towards the new millennium prayer must occupy the first place.

2Gratitude

How is she to obtain this grace? Through giving thanks, so that we do not present ourselves empty-handed at the appointed time: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness … ” intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words” (Rom 8:26), disposing us to ask God for what we need.

3Hope

How is she to obtain this grace? Through hope in the Spirit, who can banish from us the painful memories of our separation. The Spirit is able to grant us clear-sightedness, strength and courage to take whatever steps are necessary, that our commitment may be ever more authentic.

And should we ask if all this is possible, the answer will always be yes. It is the same answer which Mary of Nazareth heard: with God nothing is impossible.

If we want to work towards ultimate Christian unity, we need to devote ourselves to prayer, constantly give thanks, and be beacons of hope to the world.

Unity will not be “our” work, but will be, in the end, the work of God.

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