“The path to visible unity among all Christians resides in prayer” Benedict XVI said during the general audience in Paul VI Hall, “We are celebrating the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, in which all believers in Christ are invited to join in prayer to witness the profound bond that exists among them and to invoke the gift of full communion”.
The theme chosen this year for the Week of Prayer makes reference to the experience of the early Christian community of Jerusalem:"And they devoted themselves to the Apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers" (Acts 2:42).
“In the passage quoted from the Acts of the Apostles”, the Holy Father explained, “four characteristics define the early Christian community of Jerusalem as a place of unity and love.” The Pope affirmed that St. Luke offers it to us as model, as norm for the present Church, “because these four characteristics must always constitute the life of the Church”.
“The first characteristic is to be united in listening to the teachings of the Apostles, in fraternal communion, in the breaking of the bread and in prayer.”
“Every effort made for the building of unity between Christians passes through the deepening of fidelity to the depositum fidei which the Apostles transmit to us.” He affirmed.
The second element is communion which is, first of all, communion with God through faith, but communion with God creates communion among us. “Communion with God, made flesh in fraternal communion, is translated, concretely, in social effort, in Christian charity, in justice.” The Holy Father continued.
As for the third element, he explained: “Essential also in the life of the early community of Jerusalem was the moment of the breaking of the bread, in which the Lord himself makes himself present with the only sacrifice of the Cross in his giving himself completely for the life of his friends.”
“During this Week of Prayer for Unity the lament is particularly alive due to the impossibility of sharing the same Eucharistic table, sign that we are still far from the realization of that unity for which Christ prayed.”
“Finally,” Benedict XVI said, “prayer, or as St. Luke says, "the prayers," is the fourth characteristic of the early Church of Jerusalem described in the book of the Acts of the Apostles”
“Dear friends,” he ended, “once again it is in prayer where we find ourselves gathered -- particularly during this week -- together with all those who confess their faith in Jesus Christ, Son of God: let us persevere in it, let us be people of prayer, imploring from God the gift of unity, so that his plan of salvation and reconciliation will be fulfilled in the whole world.” VATICAN CITY, JAN. 19, 2011
On ZENIT's Web page:
Full text: www.zenit.org/article-31512?l=english
The Week of Prayer for Christians Unity was Benedict XVI´s subject at the Angelus. He affirmed that “to be a sign and instrument in the world of intimate union with God and of unity among men, we Christians must base our life on these four cardinal principles: life founded on the faith of the Apostles transmitted in the living Tradition of the Church, fraternal communion, the Eucharist and prayer”.
“Only in this way”,he affirmed, “ being closely united to Christ, can the Church effectively accomplish her mission, despite the limits and failures of her members, despite the divisions, which the apostle Paul already had to confront in the community of Corinth, as the second biblical reading for this Sunday recalled: "I exhort you brothers to be united in what you say so that there are not divisions among you, but be in perfect union of thought and feeling" (1:10).
St Paul “acknowledges that every division in the Church is an offence to Christ; and, at the same time, that it is always in him, the one Head and Lord, that we can find unity among ourselves, by the inexhaustible power of his grace”.
“The serious commitment to conversion to Christ is the way that will lead the Church, in the times disposed by God, to full visible unity” he affirmed. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 23, 2011
Other papal messages and activiies
The Pope joined the Teresian Association in thanksgiving to God in the 100th anniversary of their foundation. The Teresian Association was founded by St. Pedro Poveda in Covadonga, Spain, in 1911 and is present today in 30 countries. He invited "Teresians and their associates to renew with joy their commitment to cultivate diligently in their heart the presence of Christ, according to the great teacher in the things of the spirit, St. Teresa, so that their lives are an example in the world and their activities project the light of God in every human being." MADRID, Spain, JAN. 18, 2011
“The Church needs well prepared priests, rich in that wisdom that is acquired in friendship with the Lord Jesus, drawing constantly from the Eucharistic table and from the inexhaustible source of his Gospel. From these two irreplaceable sources know how to draw the constant support and necessary inspiration for your life and your ministry, for a sincere love of the truth that today you are called to deepen also through study and scientific research and that you will be able to share tomorrow with many.” the Pope stated on the occasion of the centenary of the Pontifical Polish Ecclesiastical Institute in Rome. He noted the institute's commitment "to offer Polish priests an ideal environment for study and fraternity during the period of formation in Rome." VATICAN CITY, JAN. 18, 2011
Benedict XVI received in audience an ecumenical delegation of the Lutheran Church of Finland, on the occasion of its annual pilgrimage to Rome to celebrate the feast of St. Henrik of Uppsala, the country's patron. “On the occasion of your visit we all wish to strengthen our belief that the Holy Spirit, who awakens us, supports us and has made the ecumenical movement fruitful, will continue to do so in the future.” He said. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 18, 2011
The Pope greeted members of the Italian association "Children in Paradise: Wings Between Heaven and Earth." He urged parents whose children have died to not allow themselves to be conquered by despair and despondency, “but transform your suffering into hope, as Mary did at the foot of the Cross". He assured the families who are mourning dead children that he prays for them. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 19, 2011
Upon receiving the directors and officers of the Police Headquarters in Rome, Benedict XVI thanked them for all they do. He spoke as well about the time in which we live which is suffused with profound changes and where the structures at the base of coexistence no longer succeed in functioning fully. “We, who are Christians”, he said “have a particular responsibility to reawaken a new resoluteness in professing the faith and in doing good, to continue with courage to be close to men in their joys and sufferings, in happy hours as in those of darkness of earthly existence.”
"The effectiveness of your service," he explained, "is the fruit of the combination between professionalism and human quality, between the updating of means and systems of security and the human gifts such as patience, perseverance in goodness, sacrifice and the willingness to listen. All this, well harmonized, goes in favor of the citizens, especially of persons in difficulty.
"Always be able to consider man as the end, so that all can live in a genuinely human way." VATICAN CITY, JAN. 21, 2011
Benedict XVI blessed two lambs, in keeping with a tradition for today's feast of St. Agnes. The lamb’s wool will be used to weave palliums. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 21, 2011
“The right to contract marriage presupposes that one can marry, and one intends to authentically celebrate marriage, that is, to do so in the truth of its essence as it is taught by the Church.” The Pope said when he received in audience the judges, officials, lawyers and collaborators of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota at the opening of the judicial year. He reflected on the relationship between law and pastoral care. The Tribunal is the Church's central appellate court. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 23, 2011
On ZENIT's Web page:
Full text: www.zenit.org/article-31543?l=english
A prayer for the Holy Father
Christ Jesus, King and Lord of the Church, in your presence I renew my unconditional loyalty to your Vicar on earth, the Pope. In him you have chosen to show us the safe and sure path that we must follow in the midst of confusion, uneasiness, and unrest. I firmly believe that through him you govern, teach, and sanctify us; with him as our shepherd, we form the true Church: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Grant me the grace to love, live, and spread faithfully our Holy Father’s teachings. Watch over his life, enlighten his mind, strengthen his spirit, defend him from calumny and evil. Calm the erosive winds of infidelity and disobedience. Hear our prayer and keep your Church united around him, firm in its belief and action, that it may truly be the instrument of your redemption. Amen.
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