Reflecting on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, January 18-25

Reflecting on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, January 18-25

19 January 2021

Mr Adrian Ross, Head of Theology and Sacred Heart Co-ordinator

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally observed from 18 to 25 January. The theme in 2021, “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit”, is based on John 15:1-17 and was chosen by the Grandchamp Community. It expresses the community’s vocation to prayer, reconciliation and unity in the Church and the human family.

Today the community has 50 sisters, all women from different generations, church traditions, countries and continents. In their diversity the sisters are a living parable of communion. They remain faithful to a life of prayer, life in community and the welcoming of guests. The sisters share the grace of their monastic life with visitors and volunteers who go to Grandchamp, Switzerland, for a time of retreat, silence, healing or in search of meaning.

During the pandemic and the periods of lockdown we are living through, we have had an opportunity to take a step back to think again about our priorities, the things and people that we value and what makes our lives whole. The long periods of absence from extended family and friends and the inability to share a meal together or celebrate a birthday or wedding are examples of this. Perhaps you have taken an opportunity to think about what matters to you and what is most important, and have given consideration to meaning in life?

In Pope Francis’ newest encyclical, Fratelli tutti, he urges people across the world to promote fraternity and recognise our shared commonalities through dialogue and that society can be renewed by putting love for others ahead of personal interest. In his encyclical the Pope writes that “The recent pandemic enabled us to recognise and appreciate once more all those around us who, in the midst of fear, responded by putting their lives on the line. We began to realise that our lives are interwoven with and sustained by ordinary people valiantly shaping the decisive events of our shared history: doctors, nurses, pharmacists, storekeepers and supermarket workers, cleaning personnel, caretakers, transport workers, men and women working to provide essential services and public safety, volunteers, priests and religious… They understood that no one is saved alone.” (Fratelli tutti No. 54)

Take time to support each other during this time and look after your well-being. Our spiritual wellbeing is as important as our physical wellbeing. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to be careful about our own health, taking many extra precautions in our daily lives. Our ordinary lives have been disrupted. Church buildings have been closed and acts of worship have been taking place online, not just for Christians but for all religious communities. What unites all Christians and other religious communities is a tradition of prayer. It is through moments of prayer and stillness that one may connect with God and share in a sense of Christian community.

Please do say and reflect on the words of this prayer, written by Ching, our Sacred Heart Ribbon.

Dear Lord,

We thank you for our school to be a place of peace and happiness. We also thank you for the privilege of online learning and the successful carrying out of mass testing in Woldingham.

As we enter another national lockdown, we pray that, God, you continue to grant us health. Please protect the elderly and those who are currently suffering with the pandemic. May you bless and embrace all who are grieving the loss of family and their loved ones in your loving arms.

Lord, help us to support and take care of each other as we all should under this challenging period and continue to bless, protect and guide every one of us in overcoming any challenges.

Amen