Fr. Damian MacPherson, left, stands with Friars’ essay winner Natalie Wong and Jim O’Leary, publisher and editor of The Catholic Register. Photo by Vanessa Santilli

Christian unity through prayer, understanding [2012 Friar's Essay Winner]

By  Natalie Wong, Catholic Register Special
  • February 1, 2012

Editor’s note: This is the winning entry from the Friars’ essay contest for high school students on how to achieve Christian unity.

Throughout many generations, the Church’s moral teachings have succeeded in surviving evolving societies and cultures. However, there is a rift between members of different Christian denominations regarding the knowledge, values and beliefs of the faith.

Lack of unity is detrimental to the impact of evangelization and division contradicts the truth of the Gospel, which calls all to unity. The Church is the body of Christ and to fulfill this honour, she must reveal the communion and love of God as one. To attain unity among Christians, the changes that must be made include internal conversion within Christians, done through effective prayer, an increase of understanding and passionate will to continue on the journey towards communion within the Christian faith.

As a prerequisite to healing divisions among Christians, there must be further understanding between all Christians. Evangelization is complicated by persistent division among Christians when, actually, there is much in common between divided Christians. We must set aside our pride, direct focus away from differences between our Christian faiths and, instead, focus on the common basis of our beliefs.

The main quandary that interferes with unity between Christians is disagreements concerning certain aspects of our faith. This can be solved through increased awareness on what the Christian faith is truly about. The solid foundation of Christ, our Lord, should draw Christians ever closer together. Christians should be able to unite and confess their faith as one. By becoming more educated on the true foundation of the Christian faith, it is more probable that Christians will develop a passionate will to continue on the journey towards unity with other Christians. 

In order to listen and learn with willing hearts and minds, we must desire complete communion between Christians. If we set our hearts on seeking the truth, we will eventually come upon the same truth and be united in it.

In our society today, there are many controversial issues that conflict with all Christian values and beliefs. Instead of opposing such issues as separate groups of Christians, we should unite as one to stand up for the truth. In terms of individuals who fall into habits of sin, we should not create a division among each other, but instead walk together to help the weak from falling. However, the most essential key in aiding Christians to unite as one community is prayer. Through prayer, we will receive the guidance and grace to fully realize the importance of unity in our faith.

Attaining unity among Christians should be actively pursued in our society. Christians must have an internal conversion that will be attained through incessant prayer, better understanding and will in order to truly band together and be in communion with the Lord. We must realize that as Christians, we are here to bring the light of God to all those around us. That is our true purpose, and by coming together as one, we will achieve so much more in bringing the Good News to the world.

(Wong, 16, is a Grade 11 student at Loretto Abbey Catholic Secondary School in Toronto.)

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