The prefect emeritus of the Vatican Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments reflected on Jesus’ priestly prayer at the Last Supper in which the Lord prayed: “that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me” (John 17:21).
Cardinal Robert Sarah celebrates Mass for students and faculty at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas on May 25, 2023. Credit: Benedicte Cedergren/Angelicum
Sarah said: “Jesus calls for them to be a family of God … Jesus knows well that the spirit of division, hatred, or mutual contempt would destroy his Church and mission. It does not matter how the devil is dressed. Everything that divides is still inspired by him.”
“The danger of division, of infighting, of confusion in doctrinal and moral teaching is so grave that Jesus ventures an ambitious, lofty, almost impossible prayer: He asks the Father that his disciples have the same unity that exists between the two of them.”
The 77-year-old cardinal reminded the students that “if theological study does not make us grow in the love of God and neighbor, if we only work hard to pass the exams, then we are killing ourselves for nothing.”
“In our time, it is urgent to restart the missionary commitment to courageously bring the Gospel of Christ everywhere, but preaching must begin with prayer and the concrete witness of that evangelical love expressed with the death of Jesus on the cross and which impels us to look at others before themselves, to spend one’s life for the Gospel and not for one’s own interest or advantages,” he said.
Cardinal Robert Sarah speaks with students and faculty at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas on May 25, 2023. Credit: Benedicte Cedergren/Angelicum
Sarah is the author of a number of books on the spiritual life, including “The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise.”
He said: “Jesus tells us that we should always be able to begin our prayer with this attitude of raising our eyes to heaven, detaching our attention, even physically, from our worries, from our earthly worries and turning towards the high, towards heaven, towards the Father who dwells in it.”
“A gaze bowed and closed in on ourselves does not open us up to God, it does not allow us to enter into a deep and intimate relationship with him. Before we begin to pray, we must, like Jesus, lift our eyes, take them away from our thoughts, even the thought of study and exams, so that we can truly and fully immerse ourselves in him, in his divine dimension.”