Office for Christian Unity,
Thursday, March 9, 2023
Prayer: a cosmic force
Praying enfolds us into the cosmos.
Prayer integrates us into the Trinity.
Praying incorporates us into the creative act.
We are enfolded in this act of creation and enfolded by the trust that God has placed in us from the beginning of time – the trust that we will bring the whole of the manifold of his creation back to him in the ebb of love, of our love.
By our prayer something of creation can advance or fail. In some measure we hold the success or failure of creation in our hands. We do so by divine bounty. Truly he has made us ‘in his image’.
Prayer is therefore a cosmic force. It changes, it modifies the pace of the cosmos, it brings order to the chaos of the cosmos. God-Trinity desires to act through us, to create with us; in us, he can begin the unity of the manifold. He calls us to be workers, he being in us; Christ being in us and working in us through the Holy Spirit, we are called to work for the consummation of everything in the Pleroma of Christ.
‘Pleroma’ (Greek = the totality or fullness) is taken from Ephesians 1:9-10
Spiritual ecumenism. The writings of Abbé Paul Couturier.
Presentation and commentary by Maurice Villain. Preface by S. B. Maximos IV.
Casterman, Paris, 1963, p. 172
Prepared by the brothers and sisters from Dombes Abbey (France)
To be used as appropriate
1/ Initiated in 1887 in the United States, the Women’s World Day of Prayer is now a worldwide ecumenical event, with more than 120 countries participating. This year, the ecumenical celebration is led by women from Taiwan, using the letter to the Ephesians as a point of reference: ‘Your faith challenges me’ (1:15-19).
A gathering organised by the Evangelical Church “Pierres Vivantes” in Bourg en Bresse (France) was held on March 4, and was attended by the United Protestant Church of France and the Roman Catholic Church.
Lord, we entrust to you this movement of prayer concerning the situation of women in the world and in the Church. May it bear fruits of unity, and may the conversations that took place lead to ecumenical friendships
2/. For the past several years, Dombes Abbey has welcomed ‘Workaways’, young people who come for a time of service during their vacation or gap year. They come from across continents, from different Christian backgrounds and none. The abbey is often an opportunity for them to discover another Church and to pray together.
Lord, we pray that the brothers and sisters of the abbey may be witnesses to the unity of your Body, that they may live ecumenism in their daily lives. We pray for these young people who seek you, that their time at Dombes may bear the spiritual fruits that lead them to you.
3/ This week was the celebration of Purim – where Jews remember Queen Esther. Monday is a day of fast, in the image of Esther before she went to King Ahasuerus (or Xerxes), and Tuesday or Wednesday is a joyful celebration of the victory over those who wanted to eliminate the people of Israel (particularly portrayed in the minister named Haman).
Lord, we pray that anti-Semitism, which is still very much alive in so many parts of the world, will be defeated, and that the joy of knowing you will be what is strongest.
4/ On October 11, 2022, in order to demonstrate the unity of the Catholic Church in his diocese, the Bishop of Belley-Ars, Mgr Pascal Roland, invited all the priests of his diocese to implement the liturgical reform requested by Pope Francis in his motu proprio Traditionis custodes. The bishop urged those listening: “Subjectivism, individualism and consumerism threaten to divide us, even as we urgently need to announce the Good News by bearing witness to fellowship.”
Lord, we entrust to you this diocese and the different realities of the Catholic Church within it. Give to all the grace to pray for Christian unity and the strength to be agents in this work.