Let My Love Open the Door
He just keeps doing it – loving them into listening, loving them into looking, loving them into letting-the-wall-fall.
Who is he? He is Pope Francis. And he keeps reminding us that we must not trip over the things that have always come between us as Christians. My friends, we have certainly learned by now that we cannot make progress in this quest for unity if we keep going about it as we always have. We must focus our first gaze on that which has the power to bind us – love of Christ.
There is something healing and totally freeing about Pope Francis. He permits us to pick up old conversations, but let them find new paths. The old paths are dead ends.
And once we remember Christ, and his prayer on the night before he suffered, we remember that unity matters.
Since my conversion in 2005, I have wanted unity among Christians because I have longed to see my family and friends receive Jesus in the Eucharist. And I still do.
But yesterday, while reading Evangelii Gaudium, I realized there is something more important. Yes, even more important than having my family connect the dots between the Jesus-they-already-love and Jesus-in-the-Eucharist.
There are many who do not know Jesus Christ at all. Not as Catholics. Not as Baptists. Not as non-denominationals. And those were the ones Jesus had on his Sacred Heart the night before he suffered. Father, make them one, so that the world will know that you have sent the Son. I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message.
Pope Francis is on to something. We need to let love open the door, and we need to get on with coming together. There are many reasons why we must do this, but the greatest reason of all? Too many dismiss the reality of Jesus because they look at us and see a mighty mess.
From paragraph 246 of Evangelii Gaudium:
Given the seriousness of the counter-witness of division among Christians,
particularly in Asia and Africa, the search for paths to unity becomes all the
more urgent. Missionaries on those continents often mention the criticisms,
complaints and ridicule to which the scandal of divided Christians gives rise.
If we concentrate on the convictions we share, and if we keep in mind the
principle of the hierarchy of truths, we will be able to progress decidedly
towards common expressions of proclamation, service and witness. The immense
numbers of people who have not received the Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot leave
us indifferent. Consequently, commitment to a unity which helps them to accept
Jesus Christ can no longer be a matter of mere diplomacy or forced compliance,
but rather an indispensable path to evangelization. Signs of division between
Christians in countries ravaged by violence add further causes of conflict on
the part of those who should instead be a leaven of peace. How many important
things unite us! If we really believe in the abundantly free working of the
Holy Spirit, we can learn so much from one another! It is not just about being
better informed about others, but rather about reaping what the Spirit has sown
in them, which is also meant to be a gift for us.