Vatican City (Fides Service) – “The world longs for peace, it needs peace – today as yesterday -, but very often it searches for peace with the wrong means, even at times with recourse to force or the balance of opposite powers. In this situation mankind lives with hearts filled with fear and uncertainty. The peace of Christ, instead, reconciles souls, purifies hearts, changes minds”. This was the John Paul II’s meditation for the General Audience on 21 January dedicated to the theme of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: "I give you peace" (cfr Jn 14,27). “There is an ever greater need for a profound spirituality of peace and peace-making, not only among those directly involved in ecumenical activity but among all Christians. The cause for unity in fact involves every believer called to be a member of the one people redeemed by the blood of Christ on the Cross” the Pope said and he recalled that the theme was proposed by Christians in the Middle East, an ecumenical group in Aleppo Syria: “This take me back in thought to the pilgrimage I had the joy of making to Damascus. In particular, I remember with gratitude the warm welcome I received by the two Orthodox Patriarchs and the Greek-Catholic Patriarch. That meeting was a sign of hope for the ecumenical journey.”
Among the positive signs on the move towards unity the Pope recalled “growing fraternal charity and progress made in theological dialogue with the different Churches and ecclesial communities” and he urged those present “not to be discouraged by old and new difficulties but to face them with patience and understanding relying always on Divine help ”.
Because today is the feast of Saint Agnes at the end of the audience, in keeping with tradition, the Pope blessed two little lambs selected to produce the wool used by the Sisters of Saint Agnes to make Palliums for the Pope and Archbishops. The new Archbishops created during the year come to Rome to receive the Pallium from the hands of the Pope on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul June 29. (S.L.) (Fides Service 21/1/2004 – lines 26; words 369)