My dear children: may Jesus watch over my daughters and sons for me!
We are beginning eight days when we will be praying especially for Christian unity. The Church’s prayer in this Octave has its source in Jesus’ dialogue with his Father at the Last Supper. Surrounded by his apostles, he said, "I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me" (Jn 17:20-21). The Lord also prayed for us, for those who, in the course of time, would become members of his Church. And he added that unity will always be necessary, "so that the world may believe."
During this time let us try to intensify our prayer, so that God's will may be fulfilled and there be "one flock and one shepherd" (Jn 10:16).
These days can also help us to consider the value of unity in its many other diverse aspects, because we know that "unity is a sign of life" (Saint Josemaría, The Way, 940). How good it is to help strengthen this unity with small daily actions! Sometimes we will need to give in on our preferences or ideas, which in themselves may be legitimate. Here it can help us to recall that "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, no. 235). Unity is a more important value than so many other things, precisely because it is a condition for life.
With my most affectionate blessing,
Rome, January 18, 2022