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|Ioannes Paulus PP. II|
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19. The way of charity is experiencing new moments of difficulty following the recent events which have involved Central and Eastern Europe. Christian brothers and sisters who together had suffered persecution are regarding one another with suspicion and fear just when prospects and hopes of greater freedom are appearing: is this not a new, serious risk of sin which we must all make every effort to overcome - if we want the peoples who are seeking the God of love to be able to find him more easily - instead of being scandalized anew by our wounds and conflicts. When, on Good Friday 1994, His Holiness Bartholomew I, Patriarch of Constantinople, offered the Church of Rome his meditations on the Way of the Cross, I recalled this communion in the recent experience of martyrdom: "...We are united in these martyrs from Rome, from the 'Hill of Crosses,' the Solovets Islands and so many other extermination camps. We are united against the background of these martyrs; we cannot fail to be united."(45)
Thus it is urgently necessary to become aware of this most serious responsibility: today we can cooperate in proclaiming the Kingdom or we can become the upholders of new divisions. May the Lord open our hearts, convert our minds and inspire in us concrete, courageous steps, capable if necessary of breaking through clichés, easy resignation or stalemate. If those who want to be first are called to become the servants of all, then the primacy of love will be seen to grow from the courage of this charity. I pray the Lord to inspire, first of all in myself, and in the bishops of the Catholic Church, concrete actions as a witness to this inner certitude. The deepest nature of the Church demands it. Every time we celebrate the Eucharist, the sacrament of communion, we find in the Body and Blood we share the sacrament and the call to our unity.(46) How can we be fully credible if we stand divided before the Eucharist, if we cannot live our sharing in the same Lord whom we are called to proclaim to the world? In view of our reciprocal exclusion from the Eucharist, we feel our poverty and the need to make every effort so that the day may come when we will partake together of the same bread and the same cup.(47) Then the Eucharist will once again be fully perceived as a prophecy of the Kingdom, and these words from a very ancient eucharistic prayer will resound with full truth: "Just as this broken bread, once scattered on the hills and gathered up, became one, so may your Church be gathered from the ends of the earth into your kingdom."(48)
45 Address after the Way of the Cross on Good Friday (April 1, 1994): AAS 87 (1995), 87.
46 Cf. Roman Missal, Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, prayer over the gifts; ibid., Eucharistic Prayer III; Saint Basil, Alexandrian Anaphora, ed. E. Renaudot, Liturgiarum Orientalium Collectio, I, Frankfurt, 1847, p. 68.
47 Cf. Paul VI, Message to the Mechitarists (September 8, 1977): Insegnamenti 15 (1977), 812.
48 Didache, IX, 4: Patres Apostolici, ed. F.X. Funk, I, 22.
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