(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Friday with members of an ecumenical delegation from Finland, led by Lutheran Archbishop Kari Makinen, urging them to continue working for the goal of full, visible unity among Christians. The group is making its annual pilgrimage to Rome for the feast day of Saint Henry, patron saint of Finland.
Recalling the theme for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity which begins on Saturday, ‘Has Christ been divided’, Pope Francis noted that question was put by St Paul to the divided Christian community in Corinth. We must ask ourselves that same question today, he said, in the face of those who no longer see the full, visible unity of the Church as an achievable goal. In this context, he stressed, we must not weaken our ecumenical efforts, but must remain faithful to the prayer that Jesus prayed to his Father ‘that they may be one’.
In Europe especially, the Pope said, relations between Christians are also affected by the fact that we are professing our faith in a culture which is increasingly marginalizing any reference to God or to the transcendent dimension of life. For this reason, he said, our witness must be focused on the heart of our faith, on the announcement of God’s love which is shown through Christ his Son. In doing this, we can find space to grow in communion and unity, promoting a spiritual ecumenism which is born directly from the commandment of love that Jesus left to his disciples. Ecumenism, he added is as spiritual process which is achieved through faithful obedience to the Father, by doing the will of Christ under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Offering his warmest greetings and blessing to all Christians in Finland, Pope Francis said let us never tire of asking for God’s grace and the light of the Spirit to help us find the truth that will bring reconciliation and communion.
Text from Vatican Radio website