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christian unityIn response to the prayer of our Lord Jesus on the eve of his death that we his disciples be “One” (Jn 17: 1-26) efforts have been made to heal the plague of division that were eating away Christians. Attempts towards unity span from the very onset of the Church through Councils and it is more visible from the second-half of the nineteenth century through under the ecumenical movement. The Catholic Church did not remain on the sidelines of these efforts to restore the unity of Christians. And this is evident in Vatican II’s decree 'Unitatis Redintegratio'.

To materialize this ecumenical vision, the whole of the third week of January has been set aside from the past 52 years, to celebrate, pray and promote mercy, justice, reconciliation and unity among Christians. During this week, we strive, as Pope Francis rightly stressed, to “recognize the value of the grace granted to other Christian communities", and to make a "gift exchange", in the course of this time of grace, truth and love.

The Churches in Indonesia, this year invite the World Council of Churches to pray for unity with a theme from Deuteronomy (16: 11-20). "Thou shalt seek righteousness, nothing but righteousness": this is the theme of (for) the meditations of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which takes place from January 18 to 25, 2019.

Indeed, the task or the duty of ecumenism today cannot consist of a chosen standardization and in an obligatory leveling of the sister churches or Christian religious movements with the Catholic Church. For as Saint Paul reminds us in his letter to the Corinthians, "Brothers (and sisters) the gifts of grace are varied, but it is the same Spirit. The services are varied, but it is the same Lord. The activities are varied, but it is the same God who acts in all and in all ", (1Cor12, 4-6). This year's theme is an interpellation to adopt a divine posture and a cardinal virtue in our treatment of Christ, the epicenter of our common faith.

Ecumenical pastoral care is not a choice, but a non-coercive necessity, because it is inherent in our common faith and Christian identity. To seek nothing but justice is to pass from the rhetoric to the path of a constructive solidarity, for a sense of sharing, responsibility and charity, to be more transparent of the person of Christ, our model. The week for Christian unity requires sincerity, the will and witnessing. Are we ready to translate our explanations into acts? We all know how actions speak louder than words. In essence, a Christian is a person of communion and communication, whence, he is person of unity. He is called after his Master Christ to work and promote unity through the "bond of peace", the gift of the sacraments and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

 The Word of God is a tool of expression of this unity, the benevolent gaze of the search for mutual knowledge and the deepening of the knowledge of the indivisible and unique Master and Savior Jesus Christ. These are all avenues for maximizing our togetherness in less hostile and more just ways. Organizing workshops in order to reduce contradictions in our shared faith and promote celebrations of the Word of God are resources for boosting the ecumenical and the one economy of salvation for Christians today. The following can also be added: welcoming others to parochial and diocesan territories, hospitality, coherence and openness without compromise, refusal of lies, refusal of the manipulation of orthodoxy. To do justice and to promote cohesion and harmony, in other words, to live in the truth of Christ, everyone must be in his position and work from his vantage point with diversity just as the sun shines on the inhabitants of the earth. As the psalmist rightly puts it: "Love and truth have met; justice and peace have embraced," and Christ is the Prince of peace par excellence.

In the Catholic Church founded on Christ and more precisely in the Society of African Missions, we are convinced that one thing is lacking: to do justice to one another and nothing but justice, that is to say, seeking nothing but love. For as Christ tells us, "It is through the love that you have for one another that you will be recognized as my disciples", and Servant of God, Mgr. De Brésillac, who emphasized: "Let us love each other, without distinction of rank, fortune, habitation, climates, (we could add without distinction confessions or Christian religious movement.), we are the members of a single family (of one body), the beloved sons and daughters of the same Father, the assured heirs of the same crown. One thing distinguishes us: we must love one another ... See, see what I did for you, he tells us, that's what you owe to others: love each other (John 13,34).

According to Brésillac, if we understand what the evangelical love requires of us, in the face of such pure charity, there is no great difficulty in honoring Christ. As sinners, the greatest glory that we can give him, the greatest testimony that we can give him in return, is to work for the unity of Christians. Let us then preserve the inheritance of the common faith, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one Spirit, one God and Father in order to heal one another and prepare for the Kingdom.

Eleuthère Ouensavi, SMA