That We All May Be One

From left to right: The Most. Rev. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, His All-Holiness Bartholomew, Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch and His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

The Rev. Dr. Robert J. Laws, III, MSST Titular Prior, USA

As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:21-23

            Through the Sacrament of Baptism, the stain of original sin is cleansed, and we are united to the death of Jesus and raised to new life in him. St. Paul taught that “there is one faith, one Lord, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). Through baptism we become members of the body of Christ, and we are given gifts for ministry in the world. There is not a Roman Catholic baptism, and an Anglican baptism, and an Orthodox baptism, and a Protestant baptism: there is One baptism. There is not a Roman Catholic Body of Christ and an Anglican Body of Christ: there is One Body of Christ.

            One of Jesus’ most fervent prayers is for unity among his disciples. He prays that we would be one even as he and the Father are one. Our sad divisions surely grieve his most sacred heart, and it is our duty as disciples who love and follow him, to pray and to strive for unity with other Christians. This does not mean that we should ignore our differences and not take them seriously; but, it does mean that we should celebrate what we already agree upon, and prayerfully and respectfully dialogue with one another concerning the issues which divide us.

            In the midst of a fractured Church, the Brotherhood of the Most Holy Trinity offers a space in which catholic Christians from Roman Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox traditions can create community in which we can practice celebrating our Christian Unity. There is certainly room for robust debate over issues that we disagree on, but more importantly, we are a fraternity, rooted in the love of Christ, which seeks to help one another grow in the grace of God so that we all may be more faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, working together to spread the Good News of Christ’s Reign of Love in the world.

            The foundation of our unity is a belief in God as Trinity- a trinity of divine persons who eternally share the life of love. Our fraternity is not only dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity, but each of us seek to immerse our lives into the trinitarian life by living a life marked by charity, truth and mysticism. It is the life of prayer married to good works (mysticism), rooted in God’s revealed truth, and immersed in the love of God (charity)- shared with one another and with the least of these through works of mercy, which enables us to grow in holiness and to strengthen the bonds of affection which unite us as brothers and sisters in the family of Jesus our brother.

            Our unity is strengthened by a common belief that our Trinitarian God invites us all to share the divine life. Our goal as followers of Jesus is to end this life in God’s grace, and once purified by God’s love and mercy, to see God face to face and to enjoy the fellowship of eternal love and bliss with God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Saints and angels and all of the blessed in God’s holy habitations. The one faith, one Lord, and one baptism which unites us to Christ and to one another likewise unites us to the Saints in Heaven.

            The Saints already beholding God face to face encourage us by their examples of holiness, and pray for us, that we may fight the good fight and win with them the victory over sin. Following their example, we are called by the Holy Spirit to encourage one another to live lives of holiness, to follow Christ’s commandment to Love God and neighbor, to work together to serve Christ in the poorest and most needy, and to advance the Reign of Christ and his victory over sin and death throughout the world.

            May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, the intercessions of Our Blessed Mother and the protection of our patrons St. Michael and St. George bring us closer to God and to one another. May our Lord’s dream of unity in the church be realized among us, as we together bear witness to God’s saving love in Jesus Christ.

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