Saint Paul asks the Romans: “love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honour” (The Letter to the Romans 12, 10).“I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than one ought to think, but to think soberly, each according to the measure of faith that God has apportioned” (The Letter to the Romans 12, 3). “Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good”(The Letter to the Romans, 12, 9). Nothing can be worse for a member of the Body of Christ than haughtiness, in other words, people who consider themselves superior to the other members. It is even worse if you consider yourself “indispensable” to your community and to the service of the Church. There is nothing more important to the Church than its unity. Before suffering His Passion, the Lord asked His Father in His Prayer: “And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are”(John 17, 11). “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me” (John 17, 20-21).
It is central to understand the meaning of this prayer. If there is no unity among those who announce His Name, the world will not be able to trust that He was sent by His Father to save mankind. Jesus intimately bonds unity to the conversion of mankind. That is the reason why Pope John Paul II tells us that broken unity is the greatest scandal of Christianity in modern times. “And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me” (John 17, 22-23). We should never forget these words: “that they may be brought to perfection as one”.
The cause of the Church will be lost if this unity does not remain protected with extreme zeal. Unity is the sweet fruit of a humble, simple and mutually helping community in which every member has died for himself or herself and nobody wants to outshine the others and nobody wants to show off; a community in which everybody knows how to forgive and understand the weaker. Saint Paul exhorts the Ephesians to strive “ to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace” (The Letter to the Ephesians 4, 3). This “bond of peace” is equivalent to charity and to the “bond of perfection” mentioned in The Letter to the Colossians 3, 14.That has always been the greatest concern of the Apostle. He asks the Ephesians: “I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace” (The Letter to the Ephesians 4, 1-3).
The Apostle is realistic: he knows that life in community is not easy, because the weaknesses of each member create strife and division. So he beseeches the faithful to “bear with one another” in the name of the “Unity in the Holy Spirit”.
Professor Felipe Aquino
Professor Felipe Aquino is a widower, father of five children. On TV Canção Nova he presents the program “Escola da Fé” [School of faith] and “Pergunte e Responderemos” [Ask and respond], on Radio he presents the program “in the heart of the Church”. On weekends he preaches deepening meetings throughout Brazil and abroad. He wrote 73 books of Catholic background by publishers, Loyola and Cleopas and Canção Nova. His teacher’s page:www.cleofas.com.br Twitter: @pfelipeaquino