“Division is a wound in the body of the Church of Christ,” Pope Francis says. “And we do not want this wound to remain open.”
Pope Francis made this statement in a videomessage he sent on the occasion of a Day for Christian Unity which took place in Phoenix, Arizona, in the United States last Saturday.The meeting had the theme of Christ’s prayer for unity, “Father, may we be one so that the world may believe you sent me.”
The Argentine Pontiff began by asking pardon if he speaks in Spanish, saying his English isn’t good enough for him to express himself properly and that above all, he speaks “the language of the heart.” The Vatican provided an English translation of the text.
Noting that they sent him an invitation to partake in their celebration, Francis said he is joining them from Rome and that from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. Saturday, he would be with them spiritually and with all his heart.
Pope Francis invited them to join him in praying for unity.
Division, on the other hand, he said, “is the work of the Father of Lies, the Father of Discord, who does everything possible to keep us divided.”
“Together today, I here in Rome and you over there, we will ask our Father to send the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and to give us the grace to be one, ‘so that the world may believe.’ I feel like saying something that may sound controversial, or even heretical, perhaps. But there is someone who ‘knows’ that, despite our differences, we are one. It is he who is persecuting us. It is he who is persecuting Christians today, he who is anointing us with (the blood of) martyrdom. He knows that Christians are disciples of Christ: that they are one, that they are brothers! He doesn’t care if they are Evangelicals, or Orthodox, Lutherans, Catholics or Apostolic…he doesn’t care! They are Christians. And that blood (of martyrdom) unites. Today, dear brothers and sisters, we are living an ‘ecumenism of blood.’ This must encourage us to do what we are doing today: to pray, to dialogue together, to shorten the distance between us, to strengthen our bonds of brotherhood.”
The Holy Spirit brings about unity, Francis underscored. While admitting theologians are helpful, the Pontiff stressed that most helpful is “the goodwill of us all who are on this journey with our hearts open to the Holy Spirit!”
Before concluding, the 78-year-old Pope assured them of his prayers and reminded them that the Holy Spirit was sent so “harmony” among all His disciples would be realized.
On ZENIT’s Webpage:
Full text of videomessage: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/text-of-pope-s-videomessage-for-day-of-christian-unity-in-us