Indice > Dialoghi Interconfessionali > DC-RC > Documentary Supp. 1981 | CONT. > III
  (PREFACE) - selezionare
  I. (INTRODUCTION) - selezionare
  II. (OUR LIFE TOGETHER) - selez.
III. Spiritual Ecumenism
  IV. (BAPTISM) - selez.



   11. In Christ God as shown his supreme love for the world (Jn 3 :16), destroying the power of sin, reconciling us to himself (2 Cor 5 :18-19) and breaking down the barriers of division in the human family. The Spirit of God is in the Church to bring this reconciling work of Christ to completion and continues to gather into it all who are ready to accept the saving Gospel. As human history unfolds, the Spirit of God prepares the coming of the final Kingdom. Already in the Church, the future unity of the Kingdom is anticipated as the Spirit brings together in faith and love those who acknowledge the Lordship of Christ.

   12. The Spirit of God draws the Church towards full unity. God's Spirit also works in the world for a new humanity through the liberation of human beings from the oppression and alienation that comes from sin. Both realms of the work of the Spirit are integral parts of one plan of salvation.

   13. The unity God has given and continues to give the Church has its origins in God's own life. The Spirit of God is the author of the Church's unity. Through the Spirit, all who are one in the Church are drawn into the loving communion of the Father and Son and in that communion are united to one another. Thus, they are being made one in mind and understanding, since through faith they adhere to the one eternal Word in whom the wisdom of God is fully expressed. In this unity, the divine plan of salvation accomplished in Christ is expressed in the world and is being ever more fully revealed.

   14. This theological awareness permits us to affirm that visible unity will come from the one grave of the Spirit of God dynamically present among Christians even in their divided condition. The Spirit calls all Christians to assume responsibility for giving authentic expression to their unity in life, in worship and in mission. The Spirit enables them to overcome obstacles and empowers them to grow together towards full visible unity.

   15. The work of Christian unity, then, is profoundly and radically a spiritual one, i.e., it comes from and is a response to the Holy Spirit. We are encouraged that both our churches share a will for unity but acknowledge that, for this unity to be made fully manifest, our will and our commitments must be sustained by what has been called "spiritual ecumenism" (Decree on Ecumenism, paragraph 8).

   16. Spiritual ecumenism does not permit us to avoid the pain of our separated existence, being content to remain as we are. Indeed, the Spirit gives us the courage to confront our divided state.

   17. Spiritual ecumenism does not allow us to leave aside the need to deal with the visible manifestation of the unity of the Church. Indeed, we understand that just as the Word of God became flesh in Jesus, so in a similar way, the power of the Spirit of God is manifested in the Church as a visible communion.

   18. Nor does spiritual ecumenism relieve us of the Gospel concern for the poor, the alienated and the oppressed. Indeed, Christians often become truly aware of the bonds that unite them and hear the call to conversion of heart as they meet the challenge to promote a society of justice, freedom and charity serving the dignity of every human being.

   19. Spiritual ecumenism arises from the realization that the one Spirit of God has already brought us into Christ and continues to move us towards full visible unity. Spiritual ecumenism gives us hope that the Spirit will lead us from the imperfect unity we know painfully in our divided condition to a wholeness we shall experience in joy.

   20. Spiritual ecumenism implies a clear consciousness of the sinfulness of division among Christians. Through spiritual ecumenism we are set free as communities and as individuals from seeking to justify our divisions and we are moved to seek a shared life in a reconciled community. Spiritual ecumenism impels us to a quality of evangelical life marked by the will to be faithful to Christ and open to one another. It also implies repentance and renunciation of egoism, as well as newness of mind, humility and gentleness in the service of others, that is conversion of heart. This metanoia thus provides what might be called an "evangelical space" — an arena for the operation of the Gospel — in which we find God's grace newly available to bind us together in praising, blessing, beseeching the God who makes us one. In this evangelical space, we discover new possibilities for genuine exchange and sharing and for seeing in a new light these affirmations that find historical expression in our still separated communities.

   21. Thus, spiritual ecumenism allows us to be open to the grace of God. The Holy Spirit is freeing us to experience together his unifying power in the many ways open to us in the ongoing life of the Church, that is, accepting and proclaiming together the Word of God in the Scriptures, confessing together the same Lord, praying together, attending one another's celebration of the Lord's Supper and having a common mission as the priestly people of God in the whole human community. Although we do not yet fully share these experiences owing to our desire to be authentic and faithful to the Church as we have known it heretofore in our communions, we nevertheless realize that God makes the power of his unifying love felt even now. He speaks to us about the contradictions of our divisions when together we open ourselves to Him in prayer and worship, in our joint efforts at articulating a common theological language in ecumenical dialogue, and in the common struggle for justice and peace in the world.

   22. In this evangelical space we are empowered both to grow together and at the same time to pay the price of suffering caused by our present divisions and by the efforts to overcome them. Here we discern a reflection of the present growth in painful struggle that marks the whole ecumenical movement. But we take hope, knowing that "the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now and not only the creation but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, grown inwardly as we await ... redemption." So "we wait for it with patience," confident that "the Spirit helps us in our weakness" and trusting that "the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God" (cf. Rom 8:22-27).



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