I am writing this during the week of Christian Unity, and recalling the familiar passage from John 17:21 that says: “That all may be one as You, Father, are in Me and I in You. I pray that they may be one in us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
In this passage, Jesus is concerned about our life in Him. We know that to live in Christ is to give up Self and find new life in Him. In this way we will become one body of believers united by one spirit in Christ.
I do not believe that Jesus was speaking about our becoming one physical body, such as one Christian church. He was referring to a union of like minds and spirit, in service to our fellow man. And that is not an easy task.
By virtue of its history, the Roman Catholic Church is the foundation, the Mother Church. As the Mother, I believe that she should embrace her children who have left the nest. She must remain strongly rooted in her own traditions but welcome her offspring who have followed a different path.
God is love. In the search for ecumenical dialogue, the Roman Catholic clergy must avoid watering down or changing the liturgy that has fed the souls of their flock for thousands of years. Firm leadership is necessary, including a return to many of the devotions that have enhanced the Roman Catholic faith and strengthened it for years.
Through the bond of friendship with other Christian churches, there can be a union of prayers for the needs of the world. Christian friendship has been the source of successful soup kitchens, church thrift stores, and other community organizations that serve the needs of those who are less fortunate. By opening our hearts to one another and praying together, we can accomplish small miracles of love for others.
I have often heard criticism about devotion to Our Lady, that she should never be a part of gatherings for Christian Unity. There is no greater example of obedience and love than Mary, who was the first Christian. How can we love the Son and not respect the woman who brought Him to the world? Her YES gave us Christianity. Prayers to her can provide positive direction of how to love one another openly.
I believe that one day all Christians will proudly exclaim without hesitation that we have a Father in Heaven, a Brother in Christ, a Holy Spirit to guide us and a Mother in Mary who can teach us how to grow closer to the Trinity.