The Challenge — Unity Amid Diversity!

February 22, 2012

For many Christians, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the 40 days of Lent — a spiritual journey leading to the cross.  Lent can be a time when traditional practices are taken up with renewed vigor — prayer (justice toward God); fasting (justice towards self) and almsgiving (justice toward neighbor).  Christians vary in their observances of Lent — some Christians may discipline themselves to ‘give up’ something…while others may ‘take on’ something.  And still others don’t observe  a season of Lent at all — in the belief that each and every day of the year should be dedicated to justice toward God and neighbor.

The challenge to us – how can we hope for Christian unity amid a wide spectrum of diversity…a cacophony of voices…practices…rituals…traditions?  In her book Uncommon Gratitude (co-authored with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams), Sister Joan Chittister, OSB posits, “…Unity, it seems, is more than solidarity and more than uniformity.  Unity, ironically, is a commitment to becoming one people who speak in a thousand voices.  Rather than one message repeated by a thousand voices, unity is one message shaped by a thousand minds… Unity is not external control;  it is internal commitment derived one person at a time until what they hear from one another together touches the heart and drives the soul of them all.” (Uncommon Gratitude…Alleluia for All That Is, Joan Chittister, OSB and Archbishop Rowan Williams, Liturgical Press, 2010, pp. 103, 104)

May we all be so inspired on our spiritual journeys…working together…united in faith!

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