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A Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Director’s Reflection

Dear Companions on the Journey,

If you were to have the privilege of listening in on Jesus’ prayer to his Father, what do you imagine you might hear?What were His concerns?

Actually we don’t have to imagine it, for we have St. John’s memory of how Jesus prayed on the night before he died:

I ask not only on behalf of these [my disciples], but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word,that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us,so that the world may believe that you have sent me.glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one,in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:20-23)

As a way of fulfilling Jesus’ prayer, about a hundred years ago, a small group inaugurated the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, now observed by Christians around the world.Each year, Christians from a different part of the globe select a theme to inform the week of prayer.This year, people from Malta were invited to choose the theme, and they settled on “They Showed us Unusual Kindness” (cf. Acts 28:2). The people from Malta chose this passage from Acts because:

[I]t showed Paul and the early disciples’ unusual kindness and hospitality through building a fire and welcoming them in, despite the rain and cold.This posture of hospitality and welcoming the stranger is a strong theme throughout the Biblical narrative.

In a world where deep differences often keep people divided, it’s as we adopt a posture of showing ‘unusual kindness’ to other Christians and people of all backgrounds that we become witnesses of God’s love to all people.

Locally, we have a great opportunity to pray with our Christian neighbors from our downtown neighborhood: our Episcopalian brothers and sisters at the Cathedral of St. Paul, our United Church of Christ/Swedenborgian brothers and sisters from the Church on the Hill, and many others.Some of them have never prayed with Catholics before, and – I would wager – some of us Catholics have never prayed with Episcopalians, Presbyterians, United Church of Christ and others before!Now is the time, as Jesus yearned so passionately on the night before he died.

When? 7pm, Wednesday, January 22nd (for about an hour).
Where? Here at the Paulist Center.

Join us for this annual moment of stretching beyond our local community and welcoming local Christians to our home!

What do you think?

And let us pray for one another,
Michael McGarry, C.S.P.