Retrieving the Mystical Dimension in Ecumenism

  • John Anthony Berry University of Malta, Faculty of Theology
Keywords: ecumenism; mysticism; Church Fathers; prayer; trust; hospitality


In our present times, a search for widespread certainty over a sound understanding of ecumenism must be acknowledged. While questions on the vision for communion among the Christian churches or on the commitment to witness and to social justice are more than justified, the appeal to “turn to God” reverberates strongly throughout the witness of (ecumenical) prophets today as it did in the past. Although a real process of entering into spiritual communion with one another takes time to happen until it becomes real and visible, ecumenism must continually start afresh from God. Ecumenism is above all God’s will that “all may be one” (John 17:21). All human efforts in the ecumenical movement are to find their origin and inspiration from God alone. The aim of this paper is a modest one. It seeks to place all ecumenical discourse in the light of the mystery of God who is the source of communion. In this light, recent discourse on reception, recognition, and spirituality should be grounded in God’s very nature and call to become one in him. This article features four main steps: 1. to contextualise the quest for Christian unity in postmodern times, 2. to emphasise the necessity of a relationship between ecumenism and Christian mysticism, 3. to learn from central concepts of the mysticism of the Church Fathers, and 4. to reconfigure ecumenism on prayer, trust and hospitality.


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