Monday, January 25, 2010

Christian unity makes Gospel proclamation more credible and effective, says Pope

"The communion of Christians ... makes the proclamation of the Gospel more credible and effective, as Jesus himself said praying to the Father on the eve of his death:" That we may be one ... so that the world may believe " (John 17:21) ":

This is how Benedict XVI explained the meaning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, celebrated this week (18-25 January).

Speaking to pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square for the Angelus, the pope recalled that the week will conclude tomorrow with the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul and as tradition, he will preside at Vespers in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in the company of representatives Christian Churches of Rome.

"Invoking God - he said - the gift of full unity of all Christ's disciples and, in particular, under this year’s theme, renewing the commitment to witness together to the crucified and risen Lord (cf. Lk 24 48)”.

On the theme of unity, Benedict XVI had previously paused to comment on today’s reading of St. Paul to the Corinthians, (1 Cor. 12, 12-31), in which Paul likens the Church to the human body .

"The Church - explained the pope - is conceived as a body of which Christ is the head, and which is one in Him. However what the Apostle wants to communicate is the idea of unity in the multiplicity of charisms, which are the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Thanks to them, the Church presents itself as a rich and vital organization, not a uniform one, fruit of the Spirit which leads us all to a profound unity, assuming diversity without abolishing it and creating of it a harmonious whole. The charisms and ministries spread throughout the community extend the risen Lord's presence into history, particularly through the sacraments and the Word of God. Therefore, it is in Christ and the Spirit that the Church is one and holy, that is, an intimate communion that transcends human capacities and supports them”.

In his reflection, Benedict XVI also recalled that today is the feast of St. Francis de Sales. "Born in Savoy in 1567 - concluded the pope - he studied law in Padua and Paris, called by the Lord, he became a priest.

He devoted himself with great fruit to preaching and spiritual formation of believers, teaching that the call to holiness is for everyone and that everyone - as St. Paul with the comparison of the body - has a place in the Church.
St. Francis de Sales is the patron saint of journalists and the Catholic press.

To his spiritual care I entrust the message for World Day for Social Communications, who I sign each year on this occasion and which was presented yesterday at the Vatican [See: 23/01/2010 Pope: Internet, an instrument for the proclamation of Christ].

May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, enable us to keep progressing in communion, to convey the beauty of being one in the unity of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. "
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