Unity in the
inside in the
power of the
.. by Leon
The following address by
Leon Joseph Cardinal Suenens, Archbishop of
Manlines, Brussels, Belgium, was given on
July 22, 1977 at the ecumenical Conference
on Charismatic Renewal in the Christian
Churches held in Kansas City, USA.
The Lord creates unity from
My very dear friends, brothers and sisters, it was
for me a surprise to be here this morning with you
and to see the renewal coming all over the world.
The Holy Spirit more and more alive to bring us
together in that unity of Christ, and I really
think we are moving forward in a very strong way.
Some years ago, I had the joy to spend a few days
in my own place in Malines, Belgium, with Dr.
Ramsey, the head of the Anglican Communion at that
time. Before starting our dialogue – an ecumenical
dialogue – I suggested we open the Gospel and just
listen to the Word of God for that occasion. And
the Word we received was:
In spite of the fact that the doors
were still closed, Jesus was there in the
midst of them saying, Peace be with you. (John
And we looked at each other and we understood. The
doors between the Anglican community and the Roman
Catholic one are still closed, but the Lord was
there between us as the center of our unity,
saying to us: “Peace be with you.”
What I wish to repeat, that in spite of many
diversities, the Lord is here because we are
gathered in His name. We are coming here together
for Him, with Him, in Him. And He says to you,
“Peace, my children. I am here and I Myself will
create inside of you that unity. You cannot do it
from the outside. I will do it from the inside in
the power of the Holy Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit can move
And may I confide something to you? Yes, the doors
are still closed, but already right and left you
see windows open with a bit of fresh air coming
through them... and the key is in the door. That
key is the Holy Spirit – the power of the Holy
Spirit – because He can move and He will move
mountains. We have to go back and to renew from
where we started – at nine o’clock in the morning
there at Pentecost.
You know, in this year of the conference, I’m
celebrating my fiftieth anniversary of priesthood.
And I thought, where can we do that the best? And
I thought – Jerusalem, the Cenacle of Jerusalem.
Couldn’t that be the place to celebrate in
thanksgiving Eucharist and to celebrate Pentecost?
And I had the joy to go there with many friends,
and I’m so glad to thank the Lord for that meeting
in Jerusalem, coming there from where we started.
We will not cease from exploration. We will
continue ‘til we arrive there from where we
started: the Church at Pentecost. Peter spoke to
the crowds and they were moved – deeply moved –
and said, “Friend, what are we to do?” And the
answer was, “Repent and be baptized, every one of
you, in the name of Jesus the messiah for the
forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the
gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to
you, and to your children, and to all who are far
away, everyone whom the Lord our God may call “
(Acts 2:38 – 39).
Well, that is what we see coming… slowly, we see
the sun rising. We see the clouds disappearing. It
is not yet finished. It’s a time of trouble. But
it’s so wonderful to be with you here because you
are open to the Spirit. You are open to the faith.
You are open to the impossible dreams of the Lord.
A new and renewed
My final word to you:
Happy those who are dreaming dreams and who are
ready to pay the price to make them become true.
And there is a Brazilian song, which
goes, “When one person is dreaming a
dream, it’s just a dream. But when two persons
are dreaming the same dream, it’s already the
beginning of a reality.”
Well, here in Kansas City, we are not only two
persons. I see crowds. I see hundreds and
thousands of people having the same dream, which
means the beginning of a reality.
During the Ecumenical Council [Vatican II], we
had a very important moment when Athenogoras,
the head of the Orthodox Church, came to Rome.
The Pope had visited him also in Jerusalem. I
turned at that moment to a good friend of mine,
an Orthodox, and I asked, “Tell me, what is the
reason for our division according to you? What
is the main reason?” And I will never forget his
answer. He said, “The main reason of our
division since the eleventh century is that we
haven’t spoken to each other during nine
Just think about that. Nine centuries of
silence. And if we start with the Reformation,
it’s four centuries of silence. And now we see
the dialogue coming open – the prayerful
dialogue; that’s the hope of the future. That’s
the new and renewed Pentecost continuing. I want
you to dream with me. To dream with us the same
and let the Spirit blow and let the wind blow
and let the rain come and let the face of the
world be renewed. Amen! Hallelujah!
article first appeared in New Wine Magazine,
Leon Joseph Cardinal Suenens (1904
- 1996), was the
Archbishop of Malines, Brussels, Belgium
between 1961 and 1979. He was made a
cardinal in 1962. His motto as bishop
was In Spiritu Sancto ("In the Holy
Spirit"). He was an active participant in
Vatican II, and was named one of four
moderators of the council by Paul VI.The
author of many books and articles, Cardinal
Suenens was recognized internationally as an
ecumenical bridge-builder and leader in the
Roman Catholic charismatic renewal.