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The Necessity of Unity

by Archbishop Milingo (Roman Catholic)

I deem it a great fortune that I am one of you to-day, in the Holy Land. I as well deem it a great privilege to say something on Unity, as intended by the Founder of our Church, Jesus the Christ. This is what we call the last will of Jesus, His long prayer to the Father, in John chapter 17.

Our particular interest is taken from His words in verses 20 to 25 : "I pray not only for these, but for those also who through their words will believe in me. May they all be one. Father may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in You, so that the world may believe it was You who sent me." We have to distinguish two unities, which distinction goes against the word unity itself. When we say "unities" then we are talking of amalgamations. But I think that in the year 2000, we can add new vocabularies. Let me put it this way. I want to say that there is a unity which comes from external causes, and another unity which has its foundations in the nature of a thing or a being. (Let us still keep the word unity in mind, while transforming it into identity, which brings us to sameness. Identity as sameness may easily be taken out of my appellatives, for instance an African, my tribal identity.)

For instance, when we speak of an identity card, we mean a paper on which my particulars are written, and to complete it, my photo is required on it. The oneness of my identity card and myself is just a little of connection between me and the identity card, by convention. There is another identity which truly comes from my being, that is my blood relatives. We are one because we come from the same father and mother. I may lose my identity card, but not my blood relationship card. We came from the same roots, with similar characteristic patterns which come through our corning into existence.

In the words of Jesus as he says: "May they be one in us, as You are in me and I am in You...", Jesus is speaking of the nature of His new people, whose unity will be based on the unity of Divine Nature. The nature therefore of the Church is to be identical to the nature of the oneness of God. The first Christians understood this fact, Acts 4: "united heart and soul..." The public identity of the Church should as well portray this unity as a sign of the divine mission of Jesus. Hence He goes on to say: "So that the world may believe it was You who sent me".

The confirmation of the Divine Mission of Jesus had two most important vehicles. Others would rather call them banners. The first one was that we should believe that He was the Christ, the anointed one, the Messiah. And that "He had words of eternal life, a message of salvation". As He quoted Himself Luke 4:18, from Isaiah 61:1-2 : "The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for He has anointed me. He has sent me to bring the Good News to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and to the blind new sight, to set the down-trodden free, to proclaim the Lord's year of favour".

All of us here have exactly continued to do what Jesus did, preach the good news. But there was more to it, the other banner, which should be the identity of foundation. The Church wherever it went was to be permeated by this unity from the nature of those who were one with Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit. Here is how He puts it: "But when the spirit of truth comes He will lead you to the complete truth, since He will not be speaking as from Himself but will say only what He has learnt; and He will tell you of the things to come. He will glorify me, since all He tells you will be taken from what is mine. Everything the Father has is mine, that is why I said: All He tells you will be taken from what is mine". They possess everything in common, in unity.

All that Christ founded, belong to the Trinity. Personal possessiveness of any church, claimed to be founded on the mission of Christ, cannot truly be the church of Christ, if it excludes in its concept the members of its church from the unity with the rest of the church Jesus has founded. To be a valid church it must have the same philosophy of unity as that which was in Christ. To preach the Gospel and to bring the people into unity is as well a mandate. He goes on to say: "Father, may they be one in us, as You are in me and I am in You, so that the world may believe it was You who sent me": In this verse Jesus alludes to the respect He had for His Father. He had sent Him to unite humanity.

Unity of mankind through the presence of the Church in the world gives joy to the Father, and the Father was to be happy with the work of Jesus. You can imagine how often the Father says to Jesus: "Look at the work of your hands, the members of the church you established are every day on one another's neck. They are cutting one another's throats. Always quarrelling, pointing fingers at one another". We are here to give consolation to Jesus. We want to abide by His will, and to realize the intentions He had when He established the Church "We shall be one, like Jesus is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit".

Let us conclude with the most inspiring words of St. Paul to the Phil. 2: 1-5. "If our life in Christ means anything to you, if love can persuade at all, or the spirit that we have in common, or any tenderness and sympathy, then be united in your convictions and united in your love, with a common purpose and a common mind. That is one thing which would make me completely happy. There must be no competition among you, no conceit; but everybody is to be self-effacing. Always consider the other person to be better than yourself so that nobody thinks of his own interests first, but everybody thinks of other people's interests instead".

Archbishop E. Milingo

 
Pilgrimages & International Retreats
11th Ecumenical True Life in God Pilgrimage to Russia
Loutraki Greece 2016
10th True Life in God Ecumenical Pilgrimage in Italy
Rhodes 2012
9th True Life in God Ecumenical Pilgrimage in the Holy Land
8th Ecumenical Pilgrimage to Rome
Rhodes, Greece 2010
Evangelization Retreat in Rome 2010
Biblical Greece Pilgrimage 2009
Mexico Retreat 2009
Egypt Gathering April 2008
Brazilian Retreat 2008
Biblical Turkey Pilgrimage 2007
Barcelona Retreat 2006
Lebanon, Syria and Jordan Pilgrimage 2005
Meteora Retreat 2004
Egypt Pilgrimage 2002
Holy Land Pilgrimage 2000
    A Personal Experience of our Holy Land Pilgrimage in 2000
    Vassula's Welcome Address
    The Nobility of the Cross
    Let us be One in the Divine Trinity
    We are called to become gods by participation
    Take Up the Sickle and Reap
    The Trinity
    Unity and Reconciliation
    The Announcement of the Kingdom
    A Prayer for Unity
    The Necessity of Unity
    The Third Epoch
    Be One in the Divine Trinity
    Reconciliation: the Trinitarian Approach
    Passion for Unity
Holy Land Pilgrimage 1998

11th Ecumenical True Life in God Pilgrimage to Russia
Honoring Russian Orthodoxy from September 2 -10, 2017
 

Loutraki Greece 2016
International retreat in Loutraki Greece, 2016
 

10th True Life in God Ecumenical Pilgrimage in Italy
"Exploring Sacred Destinations" from October 10th - 17th, 2015
 

Rhodes 2012
Inner Healing and Deliverance
 

9th True Life in God Ecumenical Pilgrimage in the Holy Land
"Biblical Revival" from August 25 - September 2, 2013
 

8th Ecumenical Pilgrimage to Rome
September 3 - 11, 2011
 

Rhodes, Greece 2010
330 people from 33 countries gather in Rhodes, Greece for a retreat focused on understanding and protecting ourselves from Satan, demons and evil spirits.
 

Evangelization Retreat in Rome 2010
Powerful retreat led by Fr. Otfried to revitalize evangelization in Europe
 

Biblical Greece Pilgrimage 2009
7th True Life in God Ecumenical Pilgrimage
"In the Steps of St. Paul"
 

Mexico Retreat 2009
True Life in God Retreat in Monterrey, Mexico. January 2009
 

Egypt Gathering April 2008
Participating together in the Greek Orthodox Easter while contemplating the Mystery of the Passion of Our Lord.
 

Brazilian Retreat 2008
True Life in God South American TLIG Retreat and Evangelization in Brazil, 31 March - 6 April 2008
 

Biblical Turkey Pilgrimage 2007

 

Barcelona Retreat 2006
4th Iberoamerican Ecumenical Retreat, 12th - 17th May 2006, Begues (Barcelona), Spain
 

Lebanon, Syria and Jordan Pilgrimage 2005
5th International Ecumenical TLIG Pilgrimage
"Walking with St Paul and the Prophets"
 

Meteora Retreat 2004
Greece, May 2th - 7th 2004
 

Egypt Pilgrimage 2002
"Out of Egypt, I called My Son" (Mt 2:15)
In the footsteps of the Holy Family
 

Holy Land Pilgrimage 2000
A Divine Bridal Call for Reconciliation and Unity
March 14th - 26th 2000
 

Holy Land Pilgrimage 1998
May 1st - 9th 1998
 

 
 
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