Handbook Offers Guidelines for the "Soul" of Fostering Christian Unity

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 16, 2007 (Zenit.org) - At the heart of the whole ecumenical movement is spiritual ecumenism, says the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

In A Handbook of Spiritual Ecumenism, Cardinal Walter Kasper presents guidelines grounded in documents from the Second Vatican Council, Pope John Paul II's "Ut Unum Sint" and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Spiritual ecumenism is the "soul of the whole ecumenical movement," Cardinal Kasper explains in the handbook, published recently by New City Press.

He encourages readers to contemplate Jesus who, during the Last Supper, prayed "that they may all be one."

Desire and prayer

The introduction of the volume explains: "The quest for Christian unity is, above all, a desire that must be kept alive and a prayer that must be nourished."

The prelate wrote the book, called for by his council's 2003 plenary assembly, with some of his collaborators. He especially acknowledges the help of Monsignors Johan Bonny and Donald Bolen.

The cardinal points out that the text results from personal experiences and cooperation with a group already practicing spiritual ecumenism.

Cardinal Kasper says he hopes "it will contribute to unite us more with our brothers and sisters, in a common prayer around Christ, our only Lord."

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Teachings of Christ

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44 ESV)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (Troparion - Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Random Proverb

"Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her." (Proverbs 8:10,11 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Demons often transform themselves into angels of light and take the form of martyrs, and make it appear to us during sleep that we are in communication with them. Then, when we wake up, they plunge us into unholy joy and conceit. But you can detect their deceit by this very fact. For angles reveal torments, judgments and separations; and when we wake up we find that we are trembling and sad. As soon as we begin to believe the demons in dreams, then they make sport of us when we are awake too. He who believes in dreams is completely inexperienced. 'But he who distrusts all dreams is a wise man. Only believe dreams that warn you of torments and judgments. But if despair afflicts you, then such dreams are also from demons.

St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent