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But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.”
Lk 2: 19


The “Invisible Monastery”

Suppose that each Thursday, when every week that Great Thursday is commemorated, an ever increasing multitude of Christians of every denomination were to form an immense network encircling the earth, like a vast invisible monastery in which all were caught up in Christ's prayer for Unity. Would that not be the dawn of Christian Unity breaking upon the world? Is not this the attitude of sincere, profound and burning spiritual emulation for which the Father is waiting in order to make Unity a visible reality?
This Invisible Monastery is made up of all those souls to whom the Holy Spirit has made known, with an intimate understanding, and because they have really tried to open themselves to His fire and so

to His light, the grievous state of divisions between Christians, and in whom this awareness has given rise to an enduring suffering and a corresponding regular practice of prayer and pentience... The name “Monastery” is appropriate because it is the same suffering, the same yearning, the same concerns, the same spiritual activity, the same goal which draw together into the heart of Christ this multitude which comes from every nation.... The cloister is none other than living in the Christ who prays for Unity.
These Christians are consecrated to the solemn task of Unity, with the help of the Holy Spirit... Moved by the same desire, the same fire and the same ardent longing, they live united in Christ, hidden away in the secret of God. It has become their experience that God unites Christians in the same Love before uniting them in the same Faith.

Paul Couturier (1944)

Photo: Abbey of Hautecombe (France)



Jesus, having loved his own who were in the world,
now showed them the full extent of his love…

Because Jesus gave up his own life to give us life,
in our turn, aware of our own weakness, irreversibly,

we commit our lives.

Because the hunger of those starving to death has no other solution than our sharing, because the dream of a more just and fraternal society is not enough,
starting from today,we share our possessions.

Because our children enjoy living in community while many others are poor and naked, because we want to bequeath them the ideal and the reality of a better world,
we choose to share our inheritances.

Because, whether consecrated in celibacy or in the bonds of marriage, we want to live according to the Love of God,
we count on the help of our brothers and sisters to grow in faithfulness.

Because Truth is priceless, while lies are all too common, because truth makes us free,
we try to be truthful with one another.

Because divisions between Christians are the greatest obstacle to evangelization, because we believe that the prayer of Jesus Christ will be granted: “that they may all be one so that the world may believe",
together, Orthodox, Protestants, Catholics, without waiting any longer, we follow the humble path of a daily life.

Because we want to be available for the harvest which is abundant, because Jesus saves the world by his obedience,
we choose to live in obedience and submission to each other.

Because the power of the Holy Spirit is equal to the problems of our day, and the strength of God triumphs over our weakness,
we ask for the help of the Holy Spirit.

Because we love each other, because joy is victorious,
we commit our lives in the Chemin Neuf Community to serve the Church and the Unity of Christians.

The Chemin Neuf Community manifesto

Photo: Members of the Chemin Neuf Community
giving their life vows


Every Night I Pray for the Unity of Christians


Every night, sometimes at midnight,
sometimes at four o’clock in the morning,
I go down in the garden,
I go to the nartex of the church.
I light up two candles
before the icon of Our Lady,
and I pray for the unity.

When will it take place?
When asked about the end of the world,
Christ acknowledges His as human-being’s ignorance:
“Only Father knows.
He knows the time and the moments.”

The same is with unity.
Future lies in God.
Our job is to prepare the time.
Unity will come, it will be a miracle,
A new miracle in the history.
When? We are the ones to prepare it.
Because miracle is like God: always to be waited for.

Patriarch Athenagoras


Let us Build a House!


Let us build a house where love can dwell
and all can safely live.
A place where saints and children tell
how hearts learn to forgive.
Built of hopes and dreams and visions,
rock of faith and vault of grace;
here the love of Christ shall end divisions:
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where prophets speak,
and words are strong and true.
Where all God’s children dare to seek
to dream God’s reign anew.
Here the cross shall stand as witness
and as symbol of God’s grace;
here as one we claim the faith of Jesus;
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where love is found
in water, wine and wheat;
a banquet hall on holy ground,
where peace and justice meet.
Here the love of God, through Jesus,
is revealed in time and space,
as we share in Christ the feast that frees us;
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where hands will reach
beyond the wood and stone,
to heal and strengthen, serve and teach,
and live the Word they’ve known.
Here the outcast and the stranger
bears the image of God’s face;
let us bring and end to fear and danger:
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where all are named,
their songs and visions heard
and loved and treasured, taught and claimed
as words within the Word.
Built of tears and cries and laughter,
prayers of faith and songs of grace.
Let this house proclaim from floor to rafter:
all are welcome in this place.

Marty Haugen


Let There Be No Gap Between Us And Christ!


For if there is any gap, immediately we perish.
For the building stands because it is cemented together.
Let us not then merely keep hold of Christ,
but let us be cemented to him.
Let us cleave to him by our works.

He is the head, we are the body.
He is the foundation, we the building.
He is the vine, we the branches.
He is the bridegroom, we the bride.
He is the shepherd, we the sheep.
He is the way, we walk in it.
Again, we are the temple, he the indweller.
He is the only begotten, we the brothers and sisters.
He is the heir, we the heirs together with him.
He is the life, we the living.
He is the resurrection, we those who rise again.
He is the light, we the enlightened.

St. John Chrysostom, 4th century
Homilies on the First Epistle to Corinthians


Don’t Cease Longing

Sculpture. Invocation.
Bruno Martinazzi.

All my desire is before Thee. For it is not before men who cannot see the heart, but is before Thee that all my desire is open!
Let your desire be before Him, and “the Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward thee.”
For it is thy heart’s desire that is thy prayer;
and if thy desire continues uninterrupted,
thy prayer continueth also.
For not without a meaning did the Apostle say,
“Pray without ceasing”.
Are we to be “without ceasing” bending the knee, prostrating the body or lifting up our hands, that he says, “Pray without ceasing”?
Or, if it is in this sense that we say that we “pray,” this, I believe, we cannot do “without ceasing”.
There is another inward kind of prayer without ceasing, which is the desire of the heart.
Whatever else you are doing if you do but long for that Sabbath, you do not cease to pray.
If you would never cease to pray,
never cease to long after it.

St. Augustine


If We Had to Choose Our Place

If we had to choose our place
in the Flesh of Christ,
we wouldn’t want to be
either an eye,
or a hand or an ear.
Christ wonderfully
arranges his work
and nobody can say:
„I want to be here or there!”
But He allows us to choose.
Then, if we can choose,
we want to be like links,
secret places,
where all the parts
are bonded together,
so that we can take part
in His peace,
in the depths of the Church
which is His Flesh.

Diaconesses of Reuilly (France)

Artist: Antra Jāņkalne

“The unity of Christians is first of all the manifestation of God’s glory, and its roots are in the contemplation of the Trinity”



Unity in Our Midst

All enjoy it when it is present, all suffer when it is absent.
It is peace, joy, love, ardor, the climate of heroism
and of the greatest generosity.
It is Jesus in our midst!
To live so as to have Him always among us,
to bring Him to the world ignorant of His peace,
to have in us His Light! ...
We want to give it to all the souls that touch ours.
We cannot reserve it to ourselves,
seeing that there are so many ...
who feel hunger and thirst
for this complete peace, this boundless joy
If we stick faithfully to our commitment -
that all may be one -
the world will see unity...
All will be one, if we will be one!
And don't be afraid to give up everything for unity;
unless we love beyond all measure,
unless we lose our own judgement and our own desires,
we shall never be one!
Wise is the one who dies so that God may live in him!
Unity above all!
Arguments don't count for much,
nor do the holiest of discussions,
unless we give life to Jesus among us.

From Chiara Lubich’s writings

Artist: Antra Jāņkalne


Repenting of Our Sins as a Church

What have we done?  What have we done?  Christ has left us. We have driven him away.  Our hatreds, our pride, our pharisaical self-sufficiency have driven out the Spirit of the Gospel.  And Christ has gone.  Christ has gone. Oh, how satisfied we are with ourselves!  We are the pure, we possess the truth, and we condemn others!  But life and history go on.  They are knocking at the doors of the Church, and putting ultimate questions to us.  Everything is changing.  The scientific revolution is advancing, it is modifying and not only man’s environment, but man himself, his education, the relationship between the sexes, his psychology, and tomorrow perhaps his heredity and character as well.  Not that science and technology necessarily build a world without God, as is sometimes said.  But they force man, and they will force him more and more to ask where all this is going, what is the meaning of it all, what is the meaning of his own life.

What is most lacking among men of the Church is the Spirit of Christ: humility, selflessness, an open welcome, the capacity of seeing the best in others.  We are afraid, we want to hang on to what is over and done with, because we’re used to it.  We want to be right over against the others, and under a language of conventional humility we hide the spirit of pride and power.  We carry on apart from life. We have made the Church into an organization, just like all the other ones.  We have put all our energy into setting it up, and now we put all our energy into keeping it going.  And it works more or less; rather less than more, but it works.  Only it works like a machine, and not like life.

Patriarch Athenagoras


The Mission of the Church

All the peoples of the world are good; all the races. All must find their place in the unity of mankind. I belong to all peoples. Christian unity must be the ferment of human unity. The unification of mankind is at once the expression and the search for our perfect unity in Christ, where we are all members one of another. There is only one Church, the Church of Christ; only one theology, the proclamation of Christ risen from the dead who raises us up and gives us the power to love. Soon men will be going to the moon, but they no longer know the meaning of life. We Christians ought not to be afraid of anything. We have nothing to ask of others, nothing to impose on them; but we must bear witness that life has a meaning, that life is boundless, that it opens onto eternity. For God exists, God exists; and He, the Unknown, is our friend.

Patriarch Athenagoras