A Heart for Unity

A reflection on John 17:20-24 by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB

We learn in the Gospel of John what is dearest to the heart of Christ: “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.  And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me” (John 17:20-23).  That unity is so important, and it is only possible through Christ’s prayer in us.  A question you can ask yourself (and I ask this too for myself) is, “What is the prayer Christ desires to pray through me?”  Because it will take Christ praying in us to accomplish His work of unity; we cannot do it of ourselves. 

People who are persons of unity are Christ among us.  Are you living as Christ among us?  Are you someone who helps to bring unity?  Whatever we do that breaks unity is a serious matter.  We all need to be aware of the things that cause disunity, even the little things.  And we can look at the things we need to work on with great hope, because we know that Christ enjoys projects.  I think He is a project person, and finds great joy when He has things to do.  So do not fear knowing the things you need to work on.  Let Him help you.  Listen for that prayer He is praying in you. 

One thing to keep in mind that Christ is praying in you is that you are His gift to the Father.  “Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).  That’s you and me: The Father’s gift to the Son, and the gift of Jesus to the Father.  You’re a delightful present that’s being passed back and forth between them at all times.  It would be a lie to say that you are not a gift.  Try to live knowing and believing in that!  There is no one who is not a gift from the Father to the Son and from the Son to the Father.  That reality should give us so much confidence to want to be with Him always, because He wants us to be with Him always.

Bleeding Hearts in our courtyard garden