Division of Christians “a painful trial” the Pope says

During the recitation of the Angelus last Sunday, Pope John Paul II reflected on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and said that the division among Christians is still a “painful trial.”

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begun on Sunday and ends January 25.

The Pontiff noted that the words of Jesus, “‘I leave you my peace’ are the theme of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.”  “It is significant that this theme was proposed by the Churches of the Middle East where unity and peace are the most heartfelt priorities,” he added.

“In promising His peace,” he continued, “Christ assured the disciples of His support in trials. And is not the lasting division between Christians a very painful trial?  This is why they feel the great need to turn to their One and Only Lord, asking that He help them overcome the temptation of discouragement along the difficult path which leads to full communion.”

“In a world thirsting for peace,” the Pope also said, “it is in fact urgent for Christian communities to announce the Gospel in a unified way. It is indispensable that they witness to the divine Love that unites them, that they be bearers of joy, hope and peace, becoming leaven for all of mankind.”

The Holy Father finally said that he hoped that this week of prayer “will bear copious fruits for the cause of Christian unity.”

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