Eucharist and Reconciliation

From one's own country to the other land

From this "active contemplation", this "praying as contact with people", there arose in me after my coming to Belfast in 1983 a longing to encounter in friendship and prayer, in the ordinariness of Nazareth, the people on the other side of the dividing wall, a longing that became embodied for me in the verse from psalm 42/43:

"My soul is thirsting for God, the God of my life; When can I enter and see the face of God."

From his exploration in Morocco to the end of his life, Brother Charles was an explorer. He was a pioneer of new ways for the Church. He points us towards the Abraham story -

"leave your country and your father's house, and go into the land that I will show you; and I will make you a great nation".

For Irish Catholics like me "the land that I will show you" - the land to be explored is among the Protestant and unionist people; for Irish Protestants it is among the Catholic and nationalist people. Abraham's "going out", in response to God's word, is a model for both sides on the journey of reconciliation. Awakening to the reality of the Church in the other culture and tradition comes with this Abraham journey. But it comes at a price - we begin to feel deeply the pain of our division as Churches.

That pain has led me into "active contemplation" of Jesus present in all the congregations of the Church in the Protestant community. The command of Jesus to his disciples Love one another as I have loved you applies to us not only as individuals but also as congregations of the Church. We need to "yearn" for one another in our separated congregations of the Church. When God moves our hearts to share in the intercession of Jesus for all the congregations of the Church, his Spirit will make God visible among us.