“That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in us.”  (John 17: 22-23)

By Donna Hollis, OFS

National Executive Committee Councilor

Donna Hollis, OFS

Our lives are not our own.  We are called to give over our lives in service to others.

Pope Francis inspires us to find ways to reach across the boundaries of all Christian faiths.  “Our borders should be windows, not barriers of division,” he challenges.

We need to create the conditions in which God can work through us by opening our hearts and minds to the awareness of the Holy Spirit living within us all.

We need to be wise and recognize and respond to the moments and seasons in our lives.  It is important to value those defining moments.

In the 13th century, Francis of Assisi traveled to Egypt during the Crusades. There he met and befriended the Sultan. Both Pope Francis and St. Francis embody peacemaking between Christians and Muslims.

“The path towards Christian unity, the road that will eventually bring all sincere Christians together into one community, is a path of conversion, personal and ecclesial, of admitting our selectiveness, of recognizing and valuing what other Churches have incarnated. We will eventually find ourselves around one common table and see each other as part of the same community.” (Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI)

We cannot just talk the talk but need to walk the walk. We walk with two feet of prayer and action.

Pope Francis encourages us to form deep friendships and invite warm dialogue across every denominational and interreligious line.  As we extend respect, openness, and graciousness toward those who hold different religious views from our own, we show we are one family centered in the one God of us all.

Raymond E. Brown in “Challenge to all the Churches” states: “….instead of reading the Bible to assure ourselves that we are right, we would do better to read it to discover where we have not been listening.   Then the Bible will be doing for us what Jesus did in his time, namely, convincing those who have ears to hear that all is not right, for God is asking of them more than they thought.”

Some situations require you to slow down, see clearly, and respond wisely to the moments and seasons in your life. Look carefully for those moments and listen for God’s voice of wisdom. Do not get so caught up in the minutes that you miss the moments.

The Lord is calling. We must look carefully, be wise, and know and understand God’s will.

Father John Dear once wrote, “Peace begins within each of us. It is a process of repeatedly showing mercy to ourselves, forgiving ourselves, befriending ourselves, accepting ourselves, and loving ourselves.  As we learn to appreciate ourselves and accept God’s gift of peace, we begin to radiate peace and love to others.”