That They All May Be One …

That They May Be One…

“And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are”

(John 17:11)

In the current state of affairs in the world this passage is so very important. We have a world where people have fallen victim to messages that are divisive and filled full of messages that are not only unhealthy but create an atmosphere where the statements paint a scenario where dialog is no longer possible.

As Franciscans, we are called to build a more fraternal world. This means we desire more than anything to start from a position of open and honest dialog in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

We believe, that the other person, or persons are children of God. regardless of the idea that they may not believe all the same things that we do, and that we can begin to build community at a point where we can accept those things we have in common.

The world has become a much smaller place than what it was in years past. Thanks to the internet, the average person has access to an entire world of other people to interact with. Different cultures, different lives, different beliefs, and different opinions.

The internet has the capacity to be both a blessing and a curse. It can be, and has been used as a tool for evil, and for good. One of the issues, at least with written electronic communication, is that there is also a greater capacity for miscommunication. Written communication has the capacity for speed and ease of use, but also carries the capacity for misunderstanding. This occurs where one can not perceive tonal inflections or intent or varying degrees of emotion and impact by what is written, so the reader is left with the voice in their heads to perceive those items..

There is a lot of things going on in our little corner of the world. Particularly in the area of Pro-Life issues. The United States is making some changes that are in favor of building a culture of Life that is causing people to review where they stand in this discussion. Not everyone agrees, and there are varying degrees of acceptance and attitude towards each side.

This caused me to stop and ponder how it is that this parallels the faith journeys and traditions that we have throughout the world. I have been privileged to serve order as the Ecumenical Chair for our Region. This means that I had the opportunity to reach out to other followers and devotees of St. Francis in other faith traditions. This effort has enriched me and my own faith life, as well I hope and pray that it has enriched those I have had the privilege of sharing time with.

As Catholics, we believe that there are certain things that will bring about this unity:

” A permanent renewal of the Church in greater fidelity to her vocation ; such renewal is the driving-force of the movement toward unity.

Conversion of heart as the faithful trying to live holier lives according to the Gospel – for it is the unfaithfulness of the members to Christ’s gift which causes divisions;

Prayer in common – because change of heart and holiness of life along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians, should be regarded as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement, and merits the name spiritual ecumenism.

Fraternal knowledge of each other

Ecumenical formation of the faithful and especially of priests.

Dialogue of among theologians and meetings among Christians, of the different churches and communities.

Collaboration among Christians in various areas of service to mankind ” Human service” is the idiomatic phrase. ” ( CCC #821)

In this we find that a call for all of us to “come to the table” in a spirit of fraternity, in order that each voice is heard, and each person is valued and respected as a child of the Most High.

Let us begin from a place where we can begin to talk openly from the positions that the other person only truly desires a better world, and from that position desires to build the Kingdom of God here on Earth.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

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