Week of Prayer : Foundations

Paul Couturier's Triangle of Prayer for the Unity of Christians

The prayer of Christians for Unity - which is neither of specifically Catholic nor Protestant origin, and which no group of Christians must monopolize - rests upon three pillars:

1. The prayer of personal and corporate confession, sustained by all in humility, prayer and penitence, which are independent but convergent.

'If only, since the separation of Christians, there had been compensation -
an immense, intense, inexhaustible expiation
by means of humble prayer and penitence.
But no. Up to this moment there is no great general movement,
no new style of crusade in which the countless armies of the faithful,
the cross of reunion on their breast,
take for their weapons humiliation for admitted sin -
humiliation, prayer and penitence.'

2. The necessarily ecumenical aim of this convergence. It is unity with all in Christ that each group of Christians is seeking.

'We understand the Week of Universal Prayer for the Unity of Christians
as a convergence of each Christian confession in full liberty and independence;
but as excluding anything far or near which could harm
the spiritual independence or liberty of any.
To keep the Week of Prayer is to make spiritual preparation
for the Reunion desired by the very manner of praying for it.'

3. The scrupulous conservation of the radical independence of the theological traditions in the various groups of Christians, despite their common ecumenicity.

'In a region, fresh and lofty, reached by the transcending of self,
we recover the gentle peace of Christ,
a peace now found sweeter, more penetrating and more secret,
radiant with the light of Tabor, the Mount of the Transfiguration.
Where is the spirit leading us? We do not know. He breathes where he wills.
We only know that it is he who leads, and that is enough for us.'

This may be called the Triangle of the Week of Prayer, which has for its goal a general reunion, about which we know nothing else except that God desires it, since Christ has prayed for Unity.

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