Prayer for Unity

The Church of St Martin d'Ainay,
where the Abbé said mass most days
A Daily Prayer for Christian Unity

Lord Jesus,
who prayed that we might all be one,
we pray to You for the unity of Christians,
according to Your will, according to Your means.

May Your Spirit enable us
to experience the suffering caused by division,
to see our sin,
and to hope beyond all hope. Amen.
This text, adapted from a prayer by Abbé Paul Couturier,
is said in all offices celebrated in the
Community Chemin Neuf.

 

An Act of Spiritual Communion


For when attending the Eucharist of another Christian Church, where Church discipline does not allow you to receive
Lord Jesus, I believe that you are in the Blessed Sacrament.
I love you above all things, and I long for you in my soul.
Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.

As though you have already come,
I embrace you and unite myself entirely to you.
Never permit me to be separated from you.

Lord Jesus, may we be one
as you and the Father are one,
that the world may believe the Father has sent you.

Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your Apostles:
'I leave you peace; my peace I give you'.
Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church;
and grant her the peace and unity which is according to your will;
who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Office of Prayer for the Unity of Christians



PRAISE

An empty Chalice and an empty Patten may be placed on the Altar (or a central table) as a symbol of the harm and sin of separation and of hope for Unity through the Eucharist, as a hymn or Psalm 122 is sung.

A Hymn on Spiritual Emulation

Christ, from whom all blessings flow,
perfecting thy saints below,
hear us, who thy nature share,
why thy mystic Body are.

Join us, in one spirit join,
let us still receive of thine;
still for more on thee we call,
thou who fillest all in all.

Move, and actuate, and guide:
divers gifts to each divide;
place according to thy will,
let us all our work fulfil.

Sweetly may we all agree,
touched with loving sympathy:
kindly for each other care;
every member feel its share.

Love, like death, hath all destroyed,
rendered all distinctions void;
names, and sects, and parties fall:
thou, O Christ, art all in all.

Charles Wesley

A Hymn of hope for Eucharistic Unity

O thou, who at thy Eucharist didst pray
that all thy Church might be for ever one,
grant us that every time we meet we say
with longing heart and soul, "Thy will be done."
O may we all one Bread, one Body, be
through thy blest Sacrament of unity.

For all thy Church, O Lord, we intercede:
make thou our sad divisions soon to cease;
draw us the nearer each to each, we plead,
by drawing all to thee, O Prince of Peace;
thus may we all one Bread, one Body, be
through thy blest Sacrament of unity

Adapted from E. Plumptre

Psalm 122

I was glad when they said unto me:
We will go into the house of the Lord.

Our feet shall stand:
in Thy gates, O Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is built as a city
that is at unity in itself;

For thither the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord:
to testify unto Israel, and to give thanks unto the name of the Lord.

For there is the seat of judgement:
even the seat of the house of David.

O pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
they shall prosper that love Thee.

Peace be within Thy walls:
and plenteousness within Thy palaces.

For my brethren and companions' sakes:
I will wish thee prosperity.

Yea, because of the house of the Lord our God:
I will seek to do thee good.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son:
and to the Holy Spirit:

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be:
World without end. Amen.

 
LISTEN

A reading from the Scriptures. This may be followed by an address, or an account of an ecumenical occasion or programme. There should also be time for contemplation in silence together.

SING

The Canticle of Zechariah (Morning)

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel:
for he hath visited and redeemed his people;

And hath raised up a mighty salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,

as he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets
which have been since the world began:

that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hands of all that hates us;

to perform the mercy promised to our forefathers
and to remember his holy Covenant;

to perform the oath which he sware to our forefather Abraham,
that he would give us;

that we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,

in holiness and righteousness before him
all the days of our life.

And thou, child, shalt be called Prophet of the Most Highest,
for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways,

To give knowledge of salvation unto his people,
for the remission of their sins,

Through the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us

To give light to them that sit in darkness
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be:
world without end. Amen.


Or the Canticle of Mary (Evening)

My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.

He looks on his servant in her nothingness;
henceforth all ages will call me blessed.

The Almighty works marvels for me.
Holy his name!

His mercy is from age to age,
on those who fear him.

He puts forth his arm in strength
and scatters the mighty from their thrones and raises the lowly.

He fills the starving with good things,
sends the rich away empty.

He protects Israel his servant,
remember his mercy,

the mercy promised to our fathers,
for Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be:
world without end. Amen.


or this Canticle at other times

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ:
who has blessed us in Christ Jesus with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

He chose us in him before the foundation of the world:
that we should be holy and blameless before him.

He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ:
according to the purpose of his will,

To the praise of his glorious grace:
which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

In him we have redemption through his Blood:
the forgiveness of our sins,

According to the riches of his grace:
which he lavished upon us.

He has made known to us in all wisdom and insight:
the mystery of his will,

According to the purpose which he set forth in Christ:
as a plan for the fulness of time,

to unite all things in him:
all things in heaven, and all things in earth.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be:
world without end. Amen.
 

PRAY


Invocations, based on Paul Couturier’s annual prayers for the Unity of Christians

Lord, for the low importance we have given to those words that came from your Heart: "I have other sheep not from this fold. I must also bring them; they too shall hear my voice":

We ask you to forgive us, Lord.

For our disagreements with our Christian brothers and sisters, sometimes full of irony, or narrowness of spirit, or exaggeration; for our intransigence and harsh judgments about other Christians and Churches:

We ask you to forgive us, Lord.

For all acts of violence or unkindness against our fellow Christians; for all in the past and sustained to this day for which we are to blame:

We ask you to forgive us, Lord.
For all attitudes of pride and self-sufficiency that our Churches may have shown across the ages to other Christians, and for all our failures of awareness or understanding towards each other:

We ask you to forgive us, Lord.

For the bad examples in our conduct, which have slowed down, diminished or destroyed the effects of grace in the souls of others:

We ask you to forgive us, Lord.

For forgetting to offer prayer, frequent, friendly, fervent, on behalf of our fellow Christians:

We ask you to forgive us, Lord.

Above the frontiers of language, race and nation, through all our rich difference and diversity:

Unite us, Jesus.

With Christians who are persecuted and in need, with our migrant and refugee brothers and sisters across the world and in our midst:

Unite us, Jesus.

Above our ignorance, our prejudices, or any unconscious hostility, through better understanding and ever closer communion:

Unite us, Jesus.

Above our different spiritual and theological traditions, in one spirit, one Bread and one Body:

Unite us, Jesus.

O God, for the increase of your glory:

Gather your scattered people.

O God, for the triumph of good and of truth:

Gather your scattered people.

O God, that there may be but one fold and one Shepherd:

Gather your scattered people.

O God, that justice and peace may finally reign in the world:

Gather your scattered people.

O God, to bring fullness of joy to the heart of your Son:

Gather your scattered people.


Silence

'That they all may be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be one in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.'
John 17.21.
I say to you, you are Peter
and on this rock I will build my Church.

Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your Apostles:
'I leave you peace; my peace I give you'.
Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church;
and grant her the peace and unity which is according to your will;
who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.

Silence

By your power, Lord,
gather together your scattered flock
under the one authority of your Son:

that the design of your love may be accomplished
and that the world may know you, the one true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Silence

The Prayer for Unity of the Dioceses of Brugge, Lincoln and Nottingham, by Mgr Eugeen Laridon

Lord Jesus Christ, we pray You for unity,
unity among all who profess Your name,
unity among people from every nation and every colour,
unity within our families
(let not the winds of alienation extinguish their fires of love), unity within our hearts
(let us not turn, divided or rejected, enemies to ourselves).
Envelop us in Your seamless robe,
the one and whole garment of unity
in which You suffered for us. Amen.

Silence. Prayer for special needs, for peace and justice in the world
Our Father………

Concluding Prayer - A Prayer for the Unity of Christians, based on the writings of Paul Couturier

Lord Jesus,
who prayed that we might all be one,
we pray to You for the unity of Christians,
according to Your will, according to Your means.

May Your Spirit enable us
to experience the suffering caused by division,
to see our sin,
and to hope beyond all hope. Amen.


BE SENT


A hymn or other song to inspire all present to go forward in work and prayer for Unity, to be followed by a prayer of blessing or dismissal.

Hymn celebrating the 'Invisible Monastery'

Let saints on earth in concert sing
with those whose work is done:
for all the servants of the King
in earth and heaven are one.

One family, we dwell in him,
one Church, above, beneath;
though now divided by the stream,
the narrow stream of death.

One army of the living God,
to his command we bow;
part of his host hath crossed the flood
and part is crossing now.

E'en now to their eternal home
there pass some spirits blest,
while others to the margin come,
waiting their call to rest.

Jesu, be thou our constant Guide;
then, when the word is given,
bid Jordan's narrow stream divide,
and bring us safe to heaven.

Charles Wesley

Hymn on the path of spiritual convergence in holiness or 'Parallelaboration'

Help us to help each other, Lord,
Each other's cross to bear,
let each his friendly aid afford,
and feel his brother's care.

Help us to build each other up,
our little stock improve;
Increase our faith, confirm our hope,
and perfect us in love.

Up into thee, our living Head,
let us in all things grow;
till thou hast made us free indeed,
and spotless here below.

Then, when the mighty work is wrought,
receive thy golden Bride;
give us in heaven a happy lot
with all the sanctified.

Charles Wesley

Prayer of commission, dismissal and blessing

Let us bless the Lord
Thanks be to God.


This office is based on one used by the Communauté du Chemin Neuf, to express in worship the vision of Paul Couturier for the Unity of Christians. This version was devised for use at the conference to celebrated the fiftieth anniversary since the Abbé's death, held at Nazareth, the English Convent in Brugge, Belgium, June 2003.

The hymns by Charles Wesley marked, in the same year, the 300th anniversary of John Wesley's birth and the belief of the two brothers conversion to Christ is trans-confessional - it ought never to take us into separation, but instead unites in and through our various Churches, "perfected" in the very person of the Lamb at the one Heavenly Banquet.

No comments:

Post a comment