We must never forget to start from prayer…
Pope Francis gave this serious reminder this morning, June 4, 2018, when addressing a delegation of the German Lutheran Evangelical Church, while thanking them for their ecumenical commitment.
The Holy Father recalled the Joint Commemoration of the Reformation on October 31, 2016, in Lund, Sweden, where they met “to identify in a spirit of fraternal communion what, for the wounds of the past, could instead have provoked controversy and hatred.”
“Grateful to God, we have seen that the five hundred years of history – sometimes very painful – in which we have been opposed and often in conflict, have left space, in the last fifty years, to a growing communion. Thanks to the work of the Spirit, fraternal meetings, gestures based on the logic of the Gospel rather than human strategies, and through official Lutheran-Catholic dialogue, it has been possible to overcome old prejudices on both sides.”
Help of God
“With the help of God, we hope for a future in which we strive to overcome completely our divergences,” the Pope said, noting: “We must move ahead.”
Recalling all the recent ecumenical strides which have taken place recently, also ahead of his upcoming June 21 trip to Geneva, Switzerland, for the 70th Anniversary of the World Council of Churches, the Pope reminded those present to never underestimate the necessity of prayer.
“Let us not forget to start from prayer, so that it is not human plans that indicate the way, but the Holy Spirit: He alone opens the way and enlightens the steps to be taken,” he said, adding: “The Spirit of love cannot but drive us on the paths of charity.”
All Christians, he stressed, called to alleviate together the miseries of the needy and the persecuted.
“The sufferings of many brothers oppressed because of their faith in Jesus are also a pressing invitation to reach an ever more concrete and visible unity among us. The ecumenism of blood.”
The Pope called on all Christians to support one another in the journey, and by carrying forward theological dialogue.
“No ecumenical dialogue can advance if we remain still. We must journey and continue: not with the enthusiasm of running ahead to reach coveted goals, but walking patiently together, under the gaze of God.”
Pope Francis concluded, praying: “May the Lord accompany us, so that our Christian being may be more centered in Him and courageous in its mission; so that pastoral care may be enriched with service and, in its various dimensions, be more imbued with an ecumenical spirit. I invoke upon you all the blessing of the Lord: let the Holy Spirit descend and unite what is still divided.”
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