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01/19/2011VATICAN Pope: difficulties and uncertainties in ecumenism, but also brotherhood, cooperation and sharing General Audience dedicated to Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Listening to the Gospel, the fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer are the four "foundations" of unity, necessary so that God’s plan of salvation is fulfilled throughout the whole world.Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Listening to the Gospel, the fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer. These are the four "foundations" of Christian unity, from which "we are still far away", indicated by Benedict XVI to eight thousand people at the general audience today, held during the week in which "all believers in Christ are invited to join in prayer to witness the strong bond that exists between them and pray for unity, "so that" his plan of salvation is fulfilled throughout the whole world. " During this week, the Pope said, "the impossibility of sharing the same Eucharistic banquet is a particularly vivid regret, a sign that we are still far from realization of the unity for which Christ prayed. This painful experience, which gives a penitential dimension to our prayer, must become even more generous commitment by all so that the obstacles to full communion are removed, and the day come when we can sit together around the table of the Lord, break together the Eucharistic bread and drink from the same cup. " Commenting on the theme of this week, "They devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers", the Pope first defined as "providential" the fact that "prayer is placed at the centre of the journey to build communion, reminding us, once again, that unity can not be simply a product of human activity, it is above all a gift from God. " The theme of the week, in particular, "refers to the experience of the first Christian community in Jerusalem, as is described in the Acts of the Apostles." First, then, "we have listening to the teaching of the Apostles, or listening to the witness that they give to the mission, life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. It is what Paul simply calls the Gospel". "Even today, the community of believers recognizes in reference to the teaching of the Apostles the law for their faith; every effort to build unity among all Christians therefore passes through the deepening of fidelity to the deposit of faith handed down to us by the apostles." "The second element is fellowship. At the time of the first Christian community, as well as in our day, this is the most tangible expression, especially for the outside world, of unity among the disciples of the Lord. " In Acts we see that "the early Christians held all things in common, and those who owned properties and possessions sold them to share with the needy. In the history of the Church this sharing of substances found ever new modes of expression. One of these, which is peculiar, is that of relations of fraternity and friendship built between Christians of different confessions. The history of the ecumenical movement is marked by difficulties and uncertainties, but is also a story of brotherhood, cooperation and human and spiritual sharing, that has significantly changed the relationship between believers in the Lord Jesus: we are all committed to continuing on this path. " The third element is "the breaking of bread, in which the Lord Himself becomes present in the one sacrifice of the Cross." Communion in Christ"s sacrifice is the culmination of our union with God and is therefore also the fullness of the unity of the disciples of Christ, full communion. Prayer, then, "has always been the constant attitude of the disciples of Christ," since the first community. It is once again in prayer that we are here together, especially this week, along with all those who confess their faith in Jesus Christ. " "As disciples of the Lord - concluded the pope - we have a common responsibility towards the world, we must give a united service: like the first Christian community in Jerusalem, starting from what we share, we must offer a strong testimony, spiritually founded in and supported by reason, by the one God who has revealed himself and speaks to us in Christ, to be bearers of a message to guide and enlighten the path of man of our time, who is often without clear and valid points of reference. It is important, then, to grow in mutual love every day, promising to overcome the barriers that still exist among Christians, believe that there is a real inner unity among all those who follow the Lord; collaborate as much as possible, working together on issues that remain open, and above all, be aware that the Lord must assist us on this journey, he must still help us a lot, because alone we can do nothing".
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