Winners of the Week of Prayer for Christian unity writing contest at St. Joan of Arc parish in Toronto. From left, The Catholic Register publisher Jim O’Leary, first-place winner Nathan Ko, Fr. Damian MacPherson, honourable mention Lawrence P. Fraginal, Fr. Daniel P. Callahan, second-place Kelly Cheung and honourable mention Daniela D. Tarzia. Photo by Ruane Remy

Love and compassion will unite Christianity

By  Kelly Cheung, Catholic Register Special
  • January 31, 2014

Editor’s note: this is the second place entry in the annual essay contest for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity sponsored by The Catholic Register and the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement- Graymoor. Kelly Cheung, 15, a student at Thornhill, Ont.’s St. Robert Catholic High School, took second prize.

According to the Bible, the basic definition of a Christian is a person who acknowledges their faith to Jesus Christ and His teachings. Although all Christians share similar beliefs and values, they are not all the same. Their differences have resulted in three main branches of Christianity: Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant. These sectors were created because of different interpretations of the Bible but not the division of Christ. There is only one God, one Christ whom all Christians believe in.

In the Scripture passage 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, different groups of people followed Paul, Apollos, Cephas or obviously, Christ. These groups argued with each other frequently. However, these “leaders” did not want this, they were appointed by God to preach the Word, not replace the role of Christ. These groups are very much similar to the different sectors of Christianity we have today. In the end of the passage, Paul restates the fact that Christians are all part of Christ because it was Jesus Christ who sacrificed Himself for our salvation. We are baptized in the name of Him, God created us. Christ did not intend for His followers to split, His ultimate vision was the unity of all His followers living in peace and following God’s commandments. And so we shall.

In order to build unity among Christian faiths, the most important thing is to fully express love and compassion. It is Jesus’ unconditional love that saved us from the evil of our sins. God teaches us to love each other, our neighbours, even our enemies. Love is accepting. With love, we will respect and understand others and avoid conflict. No one is perfect. It is crucial to recognize the equal human dignity of each person. Therefore, we shall welcome others just as Christ has welcomed us.

Secondly, there is the importance of dialogue. Through dialogue, we are able to learn and gain knowledge of our own faith. We have to step in each other’s shoes to comprehend their perspectives instead of just ignoring them. When we work together in peace, we will all benefit from each other and fulfill God’s will in building one Kingdom of God.

Last but not least, we should always focus on Christian living. Instead of just talking or listening as a Christian, we should act as one in our everyday lives. From going to Mass every week to helping others to build a strong Christian faith. By doing so, we become closer to God and will live by faith towards the ultimate goal of unity.

Christ is not divided and He does not want us to be divided. He wants all of His followers to be united in mind and thought, to agree with one another. Therefore, we must put down our own self, our prejudice and strengthen our desire to love and serve others. With unity, we can help each other to live out the path of Christ in God’s one big family towards one Holy Church.

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