Thursday, January 21, 2016
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Day 4 Reflection
Matthew 13:3-9, Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
God calls us to grow in faith, hope and love to proclaim the Gospel. We often do this in a prayerful community, usually a parish, where we gather together to celebrate the Eucharist and other Sacraments. This prayerful community is necessary but not all there is spiritually.
At times God puts people in our lives to help us to grow in Christ. Years ago, some parishioners I knew invited me to make a Cursillo weekend. Subsequently, I joined a small group of men, all married, who met twice a month to pray together. Following the Cursillo method, we went from being social friends to sharing spiritually. We did so for 20+ years. For me, this was a strong experience of spiritual friendship.
Spiritual friends are men and women with whom we can share our spiritual journey. We encourage each other to be our best selves and grow in imitation of Christ. We support one another when times are hard and celebrate when they are good. We give glory to God. We support each other in sharing the Gospel message with others.
Ecumenism is about building relationships. Often we move from talking about professional matters to sharing more personally about our families and concerns to sharing about the Spirit’s action in our lives. The ecumenical movement is rooted in spiritual ecumenism. Spiritual friendships with people God puts in our lives can nourish our work.
Lord Jesus, you said that everyone will know that we are your disciples if there is love among us. Strengthened by your grace, may we work tirelessly for the visible unity of your Church, so that the Good News that we are called to proclaim will be seen in all our words and deeds. Amen.
Father John Crossin, OSFS is executive director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. He tweets @crossinusccb.