As we draw to the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, recently one issue that has united Christians from every denomination has been the protection of human life in all its stages. This opportunity to unite, putting aside our differences, must not go unnoticed and is in accord with Pope Francis' prayer intention this month: "That all Christians may be faithful to the Lord’s teaching by striving with prayer and fraternal charity to restore ecclesial communion and by collaborating to meet the challenges facing humanity."
Father James Kubicki, our National Director, pointed out in his monthly reflections how St. John Paul II also noticed this unique opportunity for Christian unity. In The Gospel of Life, John Paul II wrote, "Service of the Gospel of life increasingly appears as a valuable and fruitful area for positive cooperation with our brothers and sisters of other Churches and ecclesial communities.” Additionally, in his encyclical about ecumenism, Ut Unum Sint, John Paul II wrote: “With increasing frequency Christians are working together to defend human dignity…Before the world, united action in society on the part of Christians has the clear value of a joint witness to the name of the Lord.”
We must remember that protecting human life is not simply a "Catholic" work, but is a universal activity that requires unity among Christians. Otherwise, if we as Christians try to promote the sanctity of life as a "divided house," our efforts will immediately fall flat. Our words must be backed up by our witness.
One such organization that has united Christians in praying for the protection of life is 40 Days for Life. Pope Francis has commended this organization that continues to peacefully pray for an end to abortion.
“The Holy Father greatly appreciates the dedicated work that you and everyone involved in 40 Days for Life are engaged in to promote respect for the lives of all unborn children. His Holiness assures you of his prayerful support for you, your colleagues and all those whose prayer, fasting and sacrifices are saving countless lives and giving glory to God.”
Prayer is very powerful and prayer for the protection of life is essential if we desire to effect change in the world. Let us go forth and pray that human life be respected in all its stages, but let us not forget our brothers and sisters of other denominations and join together with them in prayer. Human life is too sacred to let our differences separate us and hopefully by joining together in this one issue, it will open the door to further dialogue and ultimate Christian unity.