The Australian Church celebrates the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity from 16 to 23 May. The National Council of Churches in Australia has provided the following reflection to use this week.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2021 was prepared by the Monastic Community of Grandchamp. The theme that was chosen, “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit”, is based on John 15:1-17 and expresses Grandchamp Community’s vocation to prayer, reconciliation and unity in the church and the human family.
Day 2: Maturing internally – “Abide in me as I abide in you” (Jn 15:4a)
Ephesians 3:14-21 May Christ dwell in our hearts
Luke 2:41-52 Mary treasured all these things
The encounter with Jesus gives rise to the desire to stay with him and to abide in him: a time in which fruit matures.
Being fully human, like us Jesus grew and matured. He lived a simple life, rooted in the practices of his Jewish faith. In this hidden life in Nazareth, where apparently nothing extraordinary happened, the presence of the Father nourished him.
Mary contemplated the actions of God in her life and in the life of her son. She treasured all these things in her heart. Thus, little by little, she embraced the mystery of Jesus.
We too need a long period of maturation, an entire lifetime, in order to plumb the depths of Christ’s love, to let him abide in us and for us to abide in him. Without our knowing how, the Spirit makes Christ dwell in our hearts. And it is through prayer, by listening to the word, in sharing with others, by putting into practice what we have understood, that the inner being is strengthened.
“Letting Christ descend into the depths of our being … He will penetrate the regions of the mind and the heart, he will reach our flesh unto our innermost being, so that we too will one day experience the depths of mercy.” – The Sources of Taizé (2000) p. 134
Holy Spirit, may we receive in our hearts the presence of Christ, and cherish it as a secret of love. Nourish our prayer, enlighten our reading of Scripture, act through us, so that the fruits of your gifts can patiently grow in us.
These resources are based on the international material for the 2021 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity produced by the World Council of Churches. They have been adapted for use in Australia by the Faith and Unity Commission of the National Council of Churches in Australia.
With thanks to the National Council of Churches in Australia.