Monday, January 21, 2013

Justice, kindness, humility must mark ecumenical journey, pope says

Like the individual path to holiness, the ecumenical path to Christian unity requires justice, kindness and humility, Pope Benedict XVI told members of a pilgrimage from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.

On the path of Christian discipleship, he said, "we are called to advance together along the narrow road of fidelity to God's sovereign will in facing whatever difficulties or obstacles we may eventually encounter."

Pope Benedict met the Finnish delegation Jan. 17, the eve of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The theme chosen for the 2013 observance was: "What does God require of us?"

The prophet Micah clearly answers the question, the pope said. "It is 'to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God.'"

Walking humbly in God's presence, obeying his will and trusting in him is not only a description of a real life of faith, but also of the "ecumenical journey on the path toward the full and visible unity of all Christians," the pope said.

Progress in the ecumenical journey, he said, "demands that we become ever more united in prayer, ever more committed to the pursuit of holiness and ever more engaged in the areas of theological research and cooperation in the service of a just and fraternal society."

The pope told his 12 Finnish guests that the closer Christians walk together along the path of justice, mercy and righteousness, the more they will be "beacons of joy and hope to all those who are looking for a sure point of reference in our rapidly changing world."

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