Service for Christian Unity,
Thursday, February,17th, 2022


Love the church

It often seems impossible to love the Church. But we must constantly repeat to ourselves that all Christians, so diverse, together constitute the Church: with or without power, conservative or progressive, tolerant or fanatical. They stand in this long line of witnesses that walks in the world, singing praise, listening to the voice of the Lord, and eating together of this bread which multiplies in sharing. With this thought in mind, it may be possible to say: “I love the Church, and I am happy to belong to it”.
It is our sacred duty to love the Church. Without sincere love for the Church, it is not possible to live in joy and peace. And without sincere love for the Church, we cannot invite others to belong to it. […]
To love the Church, romantic feelings are not necessary. This requires the firm will to discover the living Christ in the people with whom he has surrounded himself, and to love these people as much as Christ himself. This applies not only to people without fame – poor, oppressed, ignored – but also to those who are highly esteemed and exercise authority in the Church.
Loving the Church means the firm will to encounter Jesus in all the people who together form the Church. For this, it is not obligatory to agree with the opinions or with the behavior of the other. On the contrary, it is sometimes necessary to oppose people in order to remove the obstacles which prevent us from seeing Christ. But opposition or approval, criticism or praise, are fruitful only if they are borne out of love for the Church.

Excerpt from “Een jaar met Henri Nouwen – Wijsheid en gelof voor elke dag”, Lannoo, 2010


Prepared by our brothers and sisters at Hautecombe Abbey, France.

To be used as appropriate

1 / On the occasion of the sixth anniversary of the meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Cyril, a round table took place in Paris last Saturday around the theme: “The role of shrines and pilgrimages in the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue.
Lord, we give you thanks for this meeting which provided an opportunity for reflection and dialogue between several Orthodox Metropolitans and Catholic Bishops.

2/ The Anglican Trinity Church and the United Protestant Church of France in Lyon have decided to live together a strong approach by recruiting a new missionary pastor to work with these two churches. This event will be celebrated on March 13 at the Grand Temple in Lyon, in the presence of these two French-speaking and English-speaking communities.
Lord, we thank you for this new recruitment which marks a real desire for unity and renewal of these two Lyon churches, in order to announce to the world in an ever wider and creative way the Good News of the Gospel.

3/ The weekend of March 26-27 will take place for the first time in Hautecombe an ecumenical meeting for young people, called “Get together”. The objective is simply to bring together young people of different nationalities and Christian denominations, who carry the question of Christian Unity, and who want to spend time together to pray, reflect and share around this theme.
Lord, we give you thanks for this intuition and we entrust you with this weekend so that this time is truly guided by the Holy Spirit and can bear fruit.