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Friday, February 21, 2003

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St. Peter Damian

Genesis 11:1-9
Psalm 33
Mark 8:34—9:1

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is unity good or bad?

"Then the Lord said: 'If now, while they are one people, all speaking the same language, they have started to do this, nothing will later stop them from doing whatever they presume to do. Let us then go down and there confuse their language.' " —Genesis 11:6-7

We Catholic Christians have been baptized in one Spirit into the one body of Christ, that is, the Church (1 Cor 12:13). Therefore, we think of the Church as one, and we understand that the Church is the sacrament of unity for the whole world (Lumen Gentium, Vatican II, 1). We assume the Lord wants all to be one (Jn 17:21).

However, this assumption that the Lord wants universal unity is controversial. Some attack the Catholic Church because they see her as part of the "one world order" of the antichrist. In our economy, we see more and more mergers. This unity tends toward monopoly. God Himself broke down the unity of the world at the tower of Babel (Gn 11:8). Although the Lord considers it good and pleasant when brethren "dwell at one" (Ps 133:1), doesn't He mean a local unity rather than a universal one?

The question about unity is answered at the first Christian Pentecost. There the divisive breakdown of communication at Babel was reversed (see Acts 2:6ff). God wants a trans-national, trans-cultural, universal, united Church to be a sign of unity to the world. Give your life for universal unity (see Jn 11:51-52).

Prayer:  Father, may the title of this book be realized.

Promise:  "If a man wishes to come after Me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross, and follow in My steps." —Mk 8:34

Praise:  St. Peter Damian helped propagate unity by answering a call that opposed his natural inclination to solitude and accepted the calling to serve God's people in a more public, universal way.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our booklet, Introduction to Small Christian Communities, or our tape What is Christian Community? on audio AV 76-1 or video V-76.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, August 1, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 7, 2002