'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.'
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.
who prayed, on the night before you died for us,
that all your disciples might be completely one,
as you are in your Father and your Father is in you:
Enable us to feel sorrow for the unfaithfulness of our disunity;
Give us the loyalty to recognize, and the courage to reject,
the mutual indifference, distrust, and even hostility which hide in us;
Grant us all to meet in your praying Heart,
so that from our souls and our lips
it may be your prayer that rises unceasingly -
the unfailing prayer that obtains from your Father
the Unity of Christians,
according to your will, according to your means;
That in you, who are perfect charity,
we may find the Way that leads to Unity
in obedience to your Love and your Truth.
A Prayer given to Father Francis Tyndale-Biscoe of the Anglican Society of Saint Francis
Couturier believed strongly that prayer for unity would be demanding, even costly. The Christian who prays for unity joins Christ in the prayer of his passion, and shares in the wounds that are especially evident in the divisions of Christians. We can grow accustomed to our different church bodies and complacent about unity. We can be optimistic about Christian friendliness and ever closer collaboration. But Couturier reminds us that the divisions persist and are a real scandal. They are contrary to the will of Christ's own prayer. They are part of the cross that every Christian must take up daily to follow him. They are signs of the human self-will and pride that must be sacrificed in a spirit of reparation, penance and humility for wrongs done, and the redemption we seek. This prayer will be a torment, but it will be a relief and a joy in the end.
gather together all the children of your love.
At the foot of the Cross,
all together in anguish by reason of our separations,
which the voice of our consciences does not, for the moment, allow us to surmount,
we beg pardon for all the sins
which prepared, consummated, and maintained our terrible divisions.
We recognize humbly that we are all guilty.
Saviour forgive us.
Grant us the torment of prayer for Christian Unity.
We ask it with all our soul, Saviour.
We know that there can be nothing that resists our prayer when it is the echo of your prayer.
Give my brothers and sisters in my own Church and in others an ever greater holiness.
May your Spirit enlighten them, guide them, direct them all,
along your path which leads to unity, Saviour Jesus -
the unity for which you prayer before your agony in the Garden.
Give them the passion of prayer for the Roman Catholic Church,
that she may be purified and sanctified;
that she may walk along the rough way of renewal;
that she may find her true dimensions;
that she may manifest her true countenance;
that she may come forth renewed in the expression and presentation of her thought and life;
that, thanks to their prayer,
there may come the great day
when she will be ready for the joy of the gathering to her heart
of all Christians sanctified and renewed.
Saviour, pardon us.
Saviour, sanctify us.
Saviour, may your Spirit penetrate all our souls
with his love and with his light
for the greater glory of the Holy Trinity
in his eternal unity.
'We are all guilty of the worst heresy - the heresy against love.'
To fail to understand your love and all that your love involves
is really the negation of your command.
It is to contradict you before the whole world.
'By this shall all people know that your are my disciples -
if you have love, one for another.' The irony of it!
O Christ, pardon us.
Grant that all Christians may love one another without reserve.
You alone can bring this to pass.
Grant that we may love you with an unbounded love.
The things which we have in common - your Book, your Baptism,
our faith in you, in your incarnation, in your redemption, and indeed many other beliefs,
all this unites us indissolubly,
making us in you, and through you,
children of your Father.
But the things which separate us
unite us even more closely - though in a different way -
than the things which we have in common.
For the things which separate us are the causes of intense suffering,
the suffering of being separated in our thoughts concerning your Church.
And there is nothing that draws us together
and unites us more closely than suffering.
O Christ, make us suffer so intensely by reason of our separation
that your prayer within us may penetrate us,
may take possession of us,
have free course in us,
and ascend to your Father.
Prayer of Surrender by St Nicholas de Flüe, Switzerland (1417-87)
My Lord and God, take from me all that blocks my way to you.
My Lord and God, give me all that speeds my way to you.
My Lord and God, take this 'myself' from me and give me as your own to you.
Let us not become settled in our divisions.
Preserve us from considering as normal
that which is a scandal to the world
and an offence to your love.
Keep alive in us the knowledge of the sin
that divides what you have made to be one.
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.
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.
This text, adapted from a prayer by Abbé Paul Couturier, is said in all offices celebrated in the Communauté du Chemin Neuf.
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.