Exercising Spirit-given wisdom for unity
Traditionally the third week of January (January 18-25) is devoted to prayers for Christian unity. For over 100 years the World Prayer for Christian Unity has invited Christian denominations of every stripe to pray for closer union.
Not long ago, I found myself longing for the day when our prayers will finally lead to Eucharistic table sharing. Here's the story:
"Emily," a respected nun friend and nonagenarian, passed away rather quickly after a sudden fall. She asked a close friend — who also happens to be a Lutheran minister -- to give the homily at her funeral. So it was, that "Larry," — vested in alb and stole and seated not far from the altar -- unabashedly shared his trepidation at being asked to preach and eulogize a Catholic sister at her funeral Mass.
Turns out Larry had been Emily's supervisor when she trained to become a hospital chaplain after a long teaching career. "I had the good sense to just stay out of her way," Larry told us. "Later, I asked her to be my spiritual director. She introduced me to contemplative prayer and to Thomas Merton. It changed my life," he recalled. "She always knew just what book to give me." Larry then reflected on Emily's life in light of the scriptural passages she herself had chosen. It was a wonderful homily.
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