Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – One of the deepest desires of the Heart of Christ is the unity of His disciples. In the Last Supper, in a setting of great confidence and closeness, the Lord reveals His desire for unity to His Apostles. This desire becomes a petition made to the Father “May they all be one.” (Jn 17:21). We are all called to unite ourselves to the prayer of Our Lord Jesus Christ and intensely pray for unity. Jesus' entire Paschal Mystery is oriented to this end. He is about to die, as Caiaphas himself predicts without realizing, “to gather into one the dispersed children of God” (Jn 11:52).
On January 25, 2008, in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, the Holy Father Benedict XVI affirmed: “At the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, we are even more conscious that the task of restoring unity, which demands all our energy and efforts, is infinitely above our own possibilities. Unity with God and our brothers and sisters is a gift that comes from on high, which flows from the communion of love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit in which it is increased and perfected.” In realizing that unity is a gift that only God can grant, our prayer for this grace should become more intense.
Unity contains in itself an incomparable apostolic strength. In the early Christian communities that are described by Tertullian, the love among the believers was the driving force behind converting others: “Look how they love one another.” Division is met, by those who perceive it, with distrust. Sharing the life and faith of those who are divided is not attractive. Unity proceeds from love and is its manifestation, and love is always attractive. Charity is the bond of perfect unity. The lack of unity greatly weakens the preaching of the Gospel.
Thus, in response to division, we should keep in mind that unity requires conversion. In speaking of this conversion, the Holy Father Benedict XVI explains that “conversion implies two dimensions. In the first step one knows and recognizes one's faults in the light of Christ, and this recognition becomes sorrow and contrition, the desire for a new beginning. In the second step one recognizes that this new journey cannot come from oneself. It consists in letting oneself be conquered by Christ.” (Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, January 25, 2009). In the case of Saint Paul, his conversion was not merely passing from an immoral life to sheer morality. Instead, it was that he let himself be conquered by Christ's Love, renouncing his own perfection. “And only in this renunciation of ourselves, in this conformity with Christ can we be united also among ourselves, do we become 'one' in Christ. It is communion with the Risen Christ that gives us unity” (ibid.).
The Church has been born as a fruit of the Paschal Mystery of Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Apostles were united in prayer with Mary, gathered around her. That living memory of Jesus becomes the bond of unity for those who love Him. Let us ask Mary, the Mother of Unity, to intercede before Her Son, that She may obtain that desired unity among Christ's followers. (Agenzia Fides 28/12/2009)