Pope Francis releases his prayer intention for January 2021, which focuses on human fraternity, and calls for people of different religions, cultures, traditions, and beliefs to return to the essential: love of neighbour.
The Pope Video for January, the first of 2021, was released on Tuesday 5 January with the prayer intention that Pope Francis is entrusting to the entire Catholic Church through the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (which includes the Eucharistic Youth Movement – EYM).
The message chosen to open the year 2021 is dedicated to human fraternity: in response to all the challenges facing humanity, the Holy Father asks that we open ourselves to each other and unite, as human beings and as brothers and sisters, “with those who pray according to other cultures, other traditions and other beliefs.”
As he has said on other occasions, “There is no alternative: we will either build the future together or there will not be a future. Religions, in particular, cannot renounce the urgent task of building bridges between peoples and cultures.”
Sons and daughters of the same Father
The path towards fraternity proposed by The Pope Video starts with openness “to the Father of all,” and with seeing “in the other a brother or sister.” He had already advanced this idea in his latest encyclical, Fratelli tutti: “We are certain that ‘only with this awareness that we are not orphans, but children, can we live in peace with one another.’” For the Pope, the differences among people who profess different religions or who live according to other traditions should not impede achieving a culture of encounter, since after all, “we are brothers and sisters who pray.”
The essential of our faith
In the pursuit of this spirit of fraternity, the Pope also reminds us not to forget that, for Christians, “the wellspring of human dignity and fraternity is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” In this sense, he asks believers to return to what is essential to our faith: “the adoration of God and love of neighbour.”
In dialogue with other religions, as the Pope also explains in Fratelli tutti, this becomes fundamental, since while others may drink from other sources, “for us Christians, the wellspring of human dignity and fraternity is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
The text of the January 2021 prayer intention is below:
“When we pray to God following Jesus, we come together as brothers and sisters with those who pray according to other cultures, other traditions and other beliefs.
“We are brothers and sisters who pray.
“Fraternity leads us to open ourselves to the Father of all and to see in the other a brother or sister, to share our lives or to support, to love, and to know each other.
“The Church values God’s action in other religions, without forgetting that for us Christians, the wellspring of human dignity and fraternity, is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“We believers must return to our sources and concentrate on what is essential. What is essential to our faith is the adoration of God and love of neighbour.
“Let us pray that the Lord may give us the grace to live in full fellowship with our brothers and sisters of other religions and not fight each other, and praying for one another, open ourselves to all.”
With thanks to Vatican News, where this article originally appeared.