12 The Holy Spirit Is The Source of Unity

Go To the Beginning of this Book Excerpts from The Bible’s ‘Big Picture’

The Catholic Church’s 21st Ecumenical Council (Vatican Council II) Which Recently and for the First Time in an Ecumenical Council of the Church Clearly Defined the Nature and Structure of the Ancient Undivided Early Church (Which Has Tremendous Implications for the Eventual Re-establishment of the Undivided Early Church’s Unity in Diversity), Officially Recognizes the Holy Spirit as the Source of the Church’s Unity and “Places its Hope [For Reunification] Entirely in the Prayer of Christ for the Church, in the Love of the Father for Us, and in the Power of the Holy Spirit”

It is only the Holy Spirit of God’s Divine Love who can unify currently divided Christianity, who can help us to overcome our human sin and weakness in love, even with the Undivided Early Church model of Christian unity in diversity (discussed in depth in Volume I and III of So That The World May Believe) clearly in view.  All currently divided Christians need to be open to the various unexpected and divine ways the Holy Spirit may choose to bring us closer together towards the eventual fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer for our unity.  The Catholic Church officially recognizes this, and Vatican II’s Decree on Ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio, UR) states: 

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:4–5). For “all you who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ …for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:27–28). It is the Holy Spirit, dwelling in those who believe and pervading and ruling over the entire Church, who brings about that wonderful communion of the faithful and joins them together so intimately in Christ that he is the principle of the Church’s unity.” (UR 2) 

“Today, in many parts of the world, under the influence of the grace of the Holy Spirit, many efforts are being made in prayer, word and action to attain that fullness of unity which Jesus Christ desires. The sacred Council exhorts, therefore, all the Catholic faithful to recognize the signs of the times and to take an active and intelligent part in the work of ecumenism.” (UR 4) 

“There can be no ecumenism worthy of the name without interior conversion. For it is from newness of attitudes of mind, from self-denial and unstinted love, that desires of unity take their rise and develop in a mature way. We should therefore pray to the Holy Spirit for the grace to be genuinely self-denying, humble, gentle in the service of others and to have an attitude of brotherly generosity toward them. The Apostle of the Gentiles says: “I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:1–3).”  (UR 7) 

“This sacred Council firmly hopes that the [ecumenical] initiatives of the sons of the Catholic Church, joined with those of the separated brethren [Protestant/Evangelical and Eastern Orthodox Christians], will go forward, without obstructing the ways of divine Providence, and without prejudging the future inspirations of the Holy Spirit. Further, this Council declares that it realizes that this holy objective—the reconciliation of all Christians in the unity of the one and only Church of Christ — transcends human powers and gifts. It therefore places its hope entirely in the prayer of Christ for the Church, in the love of the Father for us, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. “And hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured forth in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:5).”  (UR 24, with gloss in parentheses) 

©2007, 2009 Peter William John Baptiste, SFO

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