IEC 2012: PATTERSON (PRESBYTERIAN), “IS THERE HOPE FOR US?”
(Dublin, from our correspondents) - “Unity is not uniformity: unity is diversity embraced by love”, said Rev Ruth Patterson, Irish Presbyterian minister, speaking at the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin on the day dedicated to ecumenism. Reflecting on the famous account of the Disciples of Emmaus, Rev Patterson proposed what she called “the sacrament of encounter”, that is, as we walk the path of disappointment and discouragement, to allow a “foreign” God to approach us and ask us: “Why is it so difficult for you to believe?”. “Today we, like the disciples of Emmaus – she continued – are at the limit of faith, and we may ask ourselves: do we believe that there is hope, that there is a future for us?”. Rev. Patterson noted that the most difficult thing, which is even more difficult than understanding the mystery of the Eucharist, is to “be aware that God believes in you, that He loves you, that He still believes in the Church and above all in us, for we are His living stones”. “When we start to realise that we are loved – she added – Jesus’ gentle whisper will suffice to draw us towards others - be they Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, men or women - as members of the new family of God”. Finally she said that “we are in a season of hope, because as Christ’s followers, we can offer Christ to others, thereby giving the world a sign of hope”.