Franciscan Friar Fr. Damian MacPherson presented awards to second-place winner Alister Vaz, left, fourth-place Amber Adjella and first-place winner Joel George on Feb. 10 at St. Joan of Arc church in Toronto. Vaz received a Kobo Arc for his second-place essay on Christian unity. Photo by Michael Swan

Christian unity solidifies God’s plan for us all

By  Alister Vaz, Catholic Register Special
  • February 15, 2013

Vaz, 15, is the second place winner in annual contest for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity sponsored by The Catholic Register and the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement- Graymoor. Vaz is a student at St. Francis Xavier Secondary School in Mississauga, Ont.

Corrie ten Boom once said, “A wall with loose bricks is not good. The bricks must be cemented together.” In the same way, as Christians we need to be cemented together in God’s ever-binding love because without unity, God’s plan for us is like the loose bricks. God’s plan involves the whole community. The big question is, “How do we achieve Christian unity?” The answer to this question can be found when examining the passage in Micah 6:6-8.

In order to achieve unity with others, we need to first work with ourselves. Plato describes this mentality perfectly when he says, “The first and best victory is to conquer self.” As the Lord speaks to His servant Micah, He asks several questions. He does this because He wanted us to go through “self-examination.” Self-examination enables us to think about what God expects from us versus what we have done. This not only helps us become better individuals, but also makes us more aware of the greatness of God’s mercy. Thus, the first area that should be addressed to achieve Christian unity is self-examination, the ability of a person to examine his/her life.

I believe the second area that should be addressed is communion with God, being one with God, both by talking and listening to Him. Micah is conveying God’s message to the Israelites. God could have sent down flames of fire, threatening the people to repent, but He chose to communicate with them because He loved them and wanted to be in union with them. Christian unity cannot be made up of people alone, but it needs to have God as its foundation. For true Christian unity, we need to become one with God by turning our religion into a relationship with Him. Even the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that when Jesus died on the cross, He restored unity and that Christ is the principle of the Church’s unity.

The biblical passage also tells us what we need to do: to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly. Once we have examined ourselves and built an intimate relationship with God, it is time to turn our relationship with God into a living testimony.

The third area should be action, displaying our faith by what we say and do. We should live our lives in such a way that people see Christ in us. God requires us to be people with a clean conscience who love Him and others with selfless love. He sent His Son and prophets like Micah to help us in our journey to realize what is truly important: love for God and love for others. This is what Christian unity is all about.

Through self-examination, we make ourselves pure and find all of the puzzle pieces; through communion with God, we experience true love and are able to put the pieces together; and through action, we are able to understand the picture the puzzle is displaying.

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