2nd Annual Essay Contest for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Jan 5th, 2011 | By | Category: Blog Posts

We here at Called to Communion are happy to announce the second annual essay contest in preparation for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Readers may remember that we held this contest last year in order to facilitate dialogue at a time when the Catholic Church encourages all Christians to pray for the reunion of all those who belong to Christ through baptism and faith. Many churches and denominations also encourage their members to pray for this intention during this period.  The week begins on January 18th, one of the two feast days of the Chair of St. Peter, and ends on January 25th, the feast of the conversion of St. Paul. A brief history of the Octave can be found here. This will be the 103rd annual week of prayer for Christian unity.

This year we are asking for reflections from Reformed and Presbyterian readers on the recent document, Verbum Domini (“The Word of the Lord”), by Pope Benedict XVI. The Holy Father writes on the place of Sacred Scripture in the Church’s life, liturgy, thinking, teaching, praying, and evangelizing. As he states in the introduction,

I wish to point out certain fundamental approaches to a rediscovery of God’s word in the life of the Church as a well-spring of constant renewal. At the same time I express my hope that the word will be ever more fully at the heart of every ecclesial activity.

This post-synodal exhortation is one of the most significant Magisterial works on the Bible since Vatican II’s Dei Verbum.1 The document may be found in pdf format and in html. Successful entries will reflect on the document with an eye toward the implications for the visible reunion of Catholic and Protestant Christians. Essays may respond critically to Pope Benedict so long as they are written respectfully. Given the length of the document, authors may focus on one section, if they wish, or tackle a general theme. Furthermore, we will consider submissions that do not directly interact with Verbum Domini but which discuss the broader topic of the recovery of unity between Catholics and Calvinists.

Verbum Domini is divided into three sections. Part One, “Verbum Dei,” considers the role of Scripture in the Church’s theology. It covers issues such as the nature of Sacred Scripture as coming from the Triune God who speaks to mankind, the interpretation of Scripture. This part has a section on the Bible and ecumenism. Part Two, “Verbum in Ecclesia,” discusses the place of Scripture in the liturgy and worship of the Church. Part Three, “Verbum Mundo,” is on the Church’s mission to proclaim the gospel to the world. Readers will find a detailed outline at either the end or beginning of the document depending on which format they use.

medieval exegesis

We will send the author of the winning essay a copy of Henri de Lubac’s Medieval Exegesis, vol. 1, The Four Senses of Scripture (Eerdmans, 1998), in keeping with the theme of Scripture in the Church’s life. De Lubac’s work is an important multi-volume historical investigation into the ways in which medieval theologians listened to the written word of God and contemplated its riches.

We ask that essays remain under 1500 words. Email submissions to barrett ‘dot’ turner ‘at’ gmail ‘dot’ com. Include your name, mailing address, and email address. The deadline for entries is the end of the Octave, January 25th. We will announce the winner in the first week of February and publish the essay on the blog.

All readers of Called to Communion are encouraged to participate in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity regardless of participation in this contest. Ask your priest or pastor what can be done during times of corporate prayer to include this intention. We all long for the healing of the schisms which wound the Church’s unity, especially those which continue to separate us from our former communities in the Reformed tradition.

Lord Jesus, we pray for the intention of Your Sacred Heart, that all Christians would be reunited fully to the Church. Amen.

  1. A recent guest post by Jeffrey Pinyan expounds the doctrine of biblical inerrancy as reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council. []
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