Week of Prayer : Thoughts

The Week of Prayer for the Unity of Christians : Some Thoughts from Paul Couturier

Being of the same mind as Christ
The prayer for unity must coincide with that of Christ himself.

"The walls of separation do not rise as far as heaven" (Metropolitan Platon of Kiev)
Prayer, with a great sweep of wings, rises above all differences and makes it possible for us all to rest together in the Heart of Christ.

Communion with Peter
Each Christian group, Catholics among them, will deepen its life, will make the best of its talents, will reform what needs reforming in it, will mount towards our Lord until the walls of separation are left behind.

Then all recognizing in their brothers and sisters that Christ whom they adore, will see him as he is, one, undivided in his love, his life and his thought.

Then it will be found that dogmatic unity has come, the full allegiance of all souls to the one mind of Christ.

Union will be proclaimed by the voice of the church leaders - and by the voice of Peter.

Dogmatic agreement the fruit of the communion of love
It is no good dreaming that there will come first a realization of the unity of minds in Truth and then a union of hearts in Charity. Charity is the herald of Truth. It is clear enough that the unity desired by Christ is an organic unity, such as will grasp and gather into his heart the soul of humanity in its entirety. The unity of Christians will necessarily bring with it a unity of thought, of faith, of creed, since in all Christians it is the unique thought of their one Saviour which will develop itself. But that is the end and not the beginning.

The repentance of Christianity
The whole fabric of Christianity must be shaken to its very depths by the universal prayer of Christians: it must experience a supernatural shock which will break down all its prejudices, rectify its false and superficial ideas, cause hearts to grow into one another and finally unite minds in the eternal light of the one Christ. It will be a sort of second Pentecost descending on Christians "unanimous in prayer".

Spiritual Emulation
It is for all Christians to embark upon holy emulation of their brothers and sisters in humble, penitent prayer and the deepening of the spiritual life.

The Thursday Prayer of Christ "that they may all be one" - in an Invisible Monastery
The prayer of Christ, and the spirit of this prayer in our life, ought to animate, quicken and possess the soul of any Christian who approaches the Saviour, whether in the solitude of mental prayer, or in sacramental life, or in participation in the eucharistic feast.

If every Thursday evening, the night of Holy Thursday, an ever-increasing multitude of Christians of every confession would form, as it were, an immense net embracing the earth like a vast invisible monastery in which all could be absorbed in prayer to Christ for Unity, would we not have here the dawn of Christian Unity?

Is it not this attitude of spiritual emulation, sincere, profound, ardent, which the Father awaits for the realization of the visible unity of the Body of the Church, for the accomplishment of the miracles necessary for the reunion within his visible Church of all those who love him and have been visibly marked by the seal of baptism?

Unity the vocation of the Virgin Mary - Week of Prayer for the Unity of Christians, January 1953
Let all Christians come to their Saviour with an open soul,
attentive to the divine call,
in humble abandonment,
the attitude of the humble Virgin Mary.

Her answer to the angel is the archetype of the creature’s response to its Creator:
‘I am the servant of the Lord.
Let it be done to me as you have said.’

When the disposition of Christian souls is that of the Virgin,
when the answer of the Virgin Mary resounds silently in our souls,
the souls of all Christians,
this immense, silent cry,
guided and dominated by the voice of the Virgin,
will be unfurled before the throne of the Eternal
in a single irresistible supplication.
And once again, by the action of the Holy Spirit,
Unity will come to pass.

Prayer achieves theological agreement
Union will be the work of those who pray. May your will produce for its fulfilment a théologie priante - theologia sacra - it will be luminous because it will be full of prayer.

Christian Unity for the sake of the unity of humanity - in the charity and peace of Christ
The universal unity as brothers and sisters that is ours in Christ, rooted in or to be realized in Baptism, must find its place in the foundations of humanity as a whole. The spiritual horizon of the Week of Prayer for the Unity of Christians is not merely Christianity, it is the redemption of mankind. The reunion of all Christians is the way that leads to the union of all human beings in Christ.

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