This month, Pope Francis is praying – and inviting us to pray – for:
Christian Unity: That all Christians may be faithful to the Lord’s teaching by striving with prayer and fraternal charity to restore ecclesial communion and by collaborating to meet the challenges facing humanity.
There are many ways to pray for this intention, including throwing up a few Hail Marys or Our Fathers “for Christian Unity…” or for “Pope Francis’ intentions,” the latter of which is handy when you can’t remember this month’s intention. You can pray with Pope Francis however you like, but we put a few ideas together to help get you started:
- Prayer for Christian Unity
- Prayer for Church Unity
- Christian Unity Novena Prayer
- St. Josemaria Escriva Quote-Reflections Novena
- Lectio Divina
- Jesus’s High Priestly Prayer in John 17 (external link)
Praying is the best and most effective way to bring about supernatural change in the world. If you’d like to get your hands dirty with other actions in addition to prayer, here are some things you might like to try:
- Letter Study: Get some friends together and go through St. John Paul II’s encyclical about ecumenism – Ut Unum Sint “That They May Be One!”
- Attend a prayer service at a non-Christian place of worship
- Invite some of your non-Catholic friends to a prayer service at your Church (night of Adoration and music, anyone?)
- If you’re in college, reach out to a Christian student group (Intervarsity, Cru, etc) and find a project you can work on together. Need ideas? Projects addressing the needs of others might be a good place to start.
- The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity – Information about this department of the Vatican, including documents from meetings with various Christian denominations.
we praise you for sending your Son
to be one of us and to save us.
Look upon your people with mercy,
for we are divided in so many ways,
and give us the Spirit of Jesus to make us one in love.
We ask this gift, loving Father,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty and eternal God,
You have promised that there will someday be but one fold and one Shepherd.
Hasten that day, we pray You,
in Your most merciful kindness and generosity.
Pour the light of Your grace
into the minds of our non-Catholic friends
so that they may see the truth,
and fully realize that the truth is one and undivided.
Give them also the strength of will
needed to follow in the direction of the light You give them.
Let us, their neighbors and friends,
not be a hindrance to their conversion by our bad example.
Rather let Your goodness be made clear to them by the virtue of our lives.
Then may they finally all be brought to You,
the Light that enlightens every man who comes into the world.
Lord Jesus Christ, You called Your Church into being, founded her on the rock of Peter’s faith, and prayed that she might be one. Look down upon Your Church today as she stands buffeted by the storms of an unbelieving world and distressed within by the weakness of sin and division. As You prayed for her once as You sweated blood in Your Agony, pray for her now from Your position of power at the right hand of the Father. Send down Your Holy Spirit to heal her divisions, confirm her in that Truth which You are, and restore her to that unity which once she knew. We ask this of You who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, One God for ever and ever. Amen.
Followed by: Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
St. Josemaria Escriva Quotes-Reflection Novena
The Opus Dei Information Office has put together a Christian Unity Novena made up of St. Josemaria Escriva quotes. Here’s day 1:
Pray to God that in the Holy Church, our Mother, the hearts of all may be one heart, as they were in the earliest times of Christianity; so that the words of Scripture may be truly fulfilled until the end of the ages: Multitudinis autem credentium erat cor unum et anima una — the company of the faithful were of one heart and one soul.
—I am saying this to you in all seriousness: may this holy unity not come to any harm through you. Take it to your prayer!
Get all 8 days here. (external link)
2017 Intentions | Apostleship of Prayer
Prayer for Christian Unity #1 | Catholic Online
Prayer for Church Unity | Catholic Online
Novena for Christian Unity | Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish – Alice, TX
John 17 (RSV-CE) | Bible Gateway
Josemaria Escriva Novena | Opus Dei Information Office