Faithful Struggle – Our Sad Divisions and Ecumenism

Our transformation so that there can be a manifestation of the unity of the Body of Christ through us is a massive aspect of our faithful struggle.

In the Divine Liturgy, the celebrant says: “Send Your mercy upon us all, and grant that with one voice and one heart we may glorify and praise Your most honored and majestic name, of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages.”

And we respond: “Amen.”

Pretty bold statements. But, notice that they are bold statements that begin with “send your mercy upon us all.”

I came across this piece on ecumenism. While it is not “the answer,” it is filled with wisdom worthy of our rumination.

True ecumenism is the purifying and renewing work of the Holy Spirit — a severe mercy. It does not and will not allow for triumphalism or hierarchical power politics or self-satisfied Pharisaical-ism, etc., etc.

True ecumenism is, I submit, a paradox. And, I think that is what makes it sooo difficult for us. We don’t like paradox. It is hard to live paradoxically. Too hard it seems. We like to live and move and having our ecclesiastical being in the either/or. But, God doesn’t seem to be budging from requiring us to accept paradox as a deep characteristic of The Way and live paradoxically. That means the impossible becomes possible not because it ceases to be a paradox but because we co-operate with the Lord of paradox, the Holy Spirit.

Ecumenism is a “thorny” issue. [Pun referring to the crown of thorns is intended.]

Lord, grant us to be deeply convinced that we are in need of Your mercy in the area of our sad divisions; grant us to be open to receive the mercy we say we need; and continue to work Your mercy in our midst.


2 thoughts on “Faithful Struggle – Our Sad Divisions and Ecumenism

  1. Everybody struggles with paradox. Lutheran’s like to say we are paradoxical, “both/and” people, but try to test that theory, and everyone tries to explain away the paradoxes.

    I love your final prayer!

  2. Ken,

    Yes. The journey of salvation has been, is, and shall be, a faithful struggle with the tendency you state. But, at least we know the form and content provided by the Holy Spirit for living that joyful struggle — paradox. Living the paradox, not just talking about it or proclaiming it is transformational. Alleluia for that ! !

    My family and I have been on a 23 year journey of dismantling the either/or paradigm and building a life that is actually one of lived Mystery (the other word that typifies “paradox.” in the Holy Tradition).

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