In his general audience during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Pope Francis focused on the common baptism Christians share, saying the strength of this bond is stronger than existing divisions. “We are truly the Holy People of God, even if, due to our sins, we are not yet a people fully united,” the Pope said in his Jan. 20 general audience, adding that “the mercy of God, which works in baptism, is stronger than our divisions.”
When Christians say that they share one baptism, it’s an affirmation that all of them – Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox included – share the experience of being called from “unforgiving darkness and alienation from the encounter with the living God,” who is full of mercy. Francis noted that despite our common roots, all Christians unfortunately experience egoism, which plants seeds of division, closure and contempt in our minds and hearts.
By restarting from our baptism, Christians again “plunge into the source of mercy and hope, from which no one is excluded,” he said. This experience of shared grace creates “an indissoluble bond between us Christians, such that, by virtue of baptism, we can consider ourselves truly brothers,” he said, adding that the more we welcome this grace and mercy, the more we belong to the one, Holy People of God.
“We also become capable of announcing his marvelous works to all, beginning from a simple and fraternal witness of unity,” Francis observed. He said a good way for all Christians to work together in this announcement is by performing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, which are “a concrete witness of unity among us Christians: Protestants, Orthodox and Catholics.”