Pope Francis has urged Christians to ensure unity during his two-day working trip in Bahrain.
The Pope emphasizes the need for “unity in diversity” and “witness of life” during an Ecumenical Meeting and Prayer for Peace at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Arabia in Awali.
Pope lamented divisions among Christians, which “have wounded the Lord’s holy body.” However, he said, “the Holy Spirit, who joins all the members together, is greater than our divisions according to the flesh”; and so, the Pope continued, “it is right to say that what unites us far exceeds what divides us.”
Reflecting on the reading chosen for the Encounter, which described the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Pope Francis focused on two main themes: unity in diversity, and witness of life.”
He noted that, at that first Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to the disciples when they were gathered together. In Bahrain, he said, the smallness of the Christian flock “helps us feel the need for unity” – a unity that can grow through praise of God, “which the Spirit stirs up in everyone.”
“It is good for you to persevere in the praise of God, so as to be all the more a sign of unity for all Christians.”
At the same time, he emphasized once again that unity does not mean uniformity, but embraces diversity, accepting one another with our differences. That, the Pope said, “is the spirit of our ecumenical journey.”
The second main theme addressed by Pope Francis was “witness of life.” At Pentecost, the Pope noted, the experience of the Spirit led Christ’s earliest disciples “to go out into the world.” Christian witness, he said, is expressed more by action than by words.
At the same time, he emphasized that the Christian faith “is not a privilege to be claimed, but a gift to be shared,” while reminding his listeners that love is “the badge of Christians, the essence of our witness.”
Unity and witness are essential
“I wanted to share with you these thoughts on unity, which praise strengthens; and on witness, which charity confirms,” the Pope said, adding, “Unity and witness are both essential.”
“The Spirit unites us and sends us; He gathers us in communion and sends us on mission.”
Pope Francis concluded his address by inviting those present to entrust “our shared journey” to the Holy Spirit; and to pray for “a new Pentecost that will open new horizons and and quicken the pace of our journey of unity and peace.”