The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is happening this week. And following a year where we may have been feeling increasingly separate and isolated from each other and from God, this week feels especially important.
The Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland has provided the theme for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This monastic Community brings together Sisters from different churches and countries. Their daily reflections and texts aim to nurture closer communion with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and greater solidarity with the whole of Creation. They’ve chosen the theme:
Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit
– John 15: 5-9
Through this theme, they can share the experience and wisdom of their contemplative life abiding in the love of God.
The Community of Grandchamp
The Community was formed in the first half of the 20th century and from the start had close ties with both the Community of Taizé and Abbé Paul Couturier, a seminal figure in the history of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
Today there are about 50 Sisters in the Community. They’re committed to seeking the path of reconciliation between Christians, across the human family, and with respect to the whole of Creation.
In an interview with Vatican Radio, Sister Anne-Emmanuelle, Prioress of the Community, says the unity the Sisters pray for is reflected in the daily life of the Community, and not only ‘at a liturgical or dogmatic level’.
Humbly advancing on the path of Christ’s love
Each Sister, Sister Anne-Emmanuelle explains, has to leave the specificities of her Church to enter into the dimension of the Community of Grandchamp. She noted that this journey invariably evokes all the richness of the universal Church that emerges from this unity.
‘We all humbly advance on the path of Christ’s love,’ she says, and so must work to fulfil this verse of St John, the theme of this year’s celebration.
She explains that it is ‘a difficult verse, because there are inner struggles pulling us apart’. But reiterating the Sisters’ commitment and inviting all believers to ‘set out on this journey,’ Sister Anne-Emmanuelle said the meditations have been prepared in a spirit of reconciliation among Christians, based on the experience and wisdom of the Sisters’ contemplative life.
The Community of Grandchamp have prepared meditations and prayers for the Week of Christian Unity. We’ll be posting extracts of them on the Missio channels during this week. But you can find all the resources for the Week of Prayer, including an Ecumenical Order of Service, on the website of the Pontifical Council.
In the introduction to the reflections, the Sisters share some words from Mother Geneviève, the first Reverend Mother of the Community. She was writing in 1938, but her words ring true today:
We live in a time that is both troubling and magnificent, a dangerous time… We Christians, who know the full value of a spiritual life, have an immense responsibility and must realise it, unite and help each other create forces of calmness, refuges of peace, vital centres where the silence of people calls on the creative word of God. It is a question of life and death.
Source article (edited): Vatican News.
Image: Pedro Dias on Unsplash