Ampleforth Abbey

25 February 2018

Echoes of the Word, 18th January 2018

Echoes of the Word is an occasional newsletter from the monks of Ampleforth Abbey, featuring reflections on the readings, feasts and seasons of the Church's year and the journey of discipleship. Click here if you are interested in subscribing.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

It is widely held that the Ecumenical Movement began with the World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh in 1910, when the absurdity became clear of rival Christian organisations competing to convince non-Christians of the superiority of their particular presentations of the love of Christ. But already in 1908 two Anglicans had suggested an annual three days of prayer for Christian Unity. The idea was taken up by a visionary French priest, a Benedictine oblate, Paul Couturier, and by 1939 developed into a Universal Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.The Catholic Church had always stood aside from the ecumenical movement and such organisations as the World Council of Churches until the eve of Vatican II when observers from many different Christian bodies were invited to attend the Council as honoured guests, looked after by the newly-created Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity under Cardinal Bea. The great decrees of Vatican II, principally Lumen Gentium, made it clear that many others, not members of the Roman Catholic Church, are united to a greater or less degree as members of the Church of Christ. Since then there has been increasing friendship and co-operation between Christian bodies as we seek to overcome the effects of centuries of suspicion, disagreement and independent development. But it has always been the annual Week of Prayer that has stood behind and inspired the amazing progress there has been towards real unity in faith and practice.

Fr Henry Wansbrough OSB


Commentary on Mark 1:14-20

"The time has come" in this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, a different time zone, not chronos time but kairos time, daily life & opportunities for becoming closer in prayer & good works, emerging in Gods time, to his schedule..a clock on his wall which he watches in his time, everlasting time, with pride & delight, as he sees us grow ever closer..in his loving grace filled investment in us..watching us 24x7, engaging & enjoyable for him, as we are ever part of him & of one another, & he of us..together worldchangers..“repent & believe” recalibrate your daily life, re-adjust daily events to enable kairos moments to re energise life, regenerate the brownfield moments of each day, when we are tempted to think the journey towards ultimate Common Unity is one step forward, two steps back..where at one time relationships or shared moments were fresh dynamic passionate, & now sadly a sense of dereliction, a temptation towards indifference & neglect, a life & a faith seemingly infested with weed & pollution..light pollution..as if His light could ever be dimmed or outshone.."I am with you always, even to the end of time"..chronos or kairos?

Fr Bede Leach OSB


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