Laila Khoshkar, 17, is the second place winner of the Friars’ Essay Contest.

We must look within to attain Christian unity [2012 Friar's Essay 2nd place]

By  Laila Khoshkar, Catholic Register Special
  • February 8, 2012

Editor’s note: This is the second place entry from the Friars’ essay contest for high school students on how to achieve Christian unity. Read more entries here.

“I’m starting with the man in the mirror.” Whether we’ve heard this being sung by Michael Jackson or faced it on a poster in the library, most of us are familiar with the message: in order to change the world, one must first change him or herself. Likewise, in order to attain Christian unity, each individual member of the Church must change him or herself. Christian unity can only be achieved when the members of all denominations reach out to one another as followers in Jesus and come together under the umbrella of Jesus’ love.

All Christians — Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran and the like — revere the Holy Trinity.  Each recognizes Jesus as their Saviour and strives to live in Jesus’ path. Instead of differentiating between themselves by labelling people, Christians must embrace each other for the simple reason that they share the same core belief: that Jesus died to save them from sin. They should accept each other as lovers of Jesus instead of creating barriers between themselves based on differences in tradition and other less significant beliefs. Every Christian needs to respect his neighbours’ beliefs rather than attempt to prove them wrong, and focus on the important message that Jesus extended to all of His followers, from every denomination.

Love is the core of Christianity and it needs to be practised between the various sects. Jesus taught to love one’s neighbour as one does him or herself. Despite the fact that Christianity is built on this very value, many do not share love with different denominations. Individuals must recognize that in order to travel far in the path toward God, they must follow in His teachings.

Love is the strongest form of unity in the bond between a mother and her children, between two friends and between a husband and his wife. It must be spread between different Christians in order to unite them as one large body of believers.

To attain Christian unity in the Church every person must accept the other and go further to love the other. Christians believe the nature of God to be made up of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and every Christian will admit that God is only one.

Ultimately, a similar unity must be strived for amongst the worshippers of the Holy Trinity. Though the believers may be different, they must exist as one body, one power and one Church. And to achieve this, each believer must always “start with the man in the mirror.”

(Khoshkar, 17, is a Grade 12 student at St. Joseph’s Morrow Park Catholic Secondary School in Toronto.)

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