Musical scores do of course allow for passages of dissonance, of loud and clashing crescendos. A symphony is not simply one long piece of music, but a connection of individual movements. They collectively tell a story in both tone and time. Volume, harmony and dissonance are part of their language. Frequently in those symphonies the score builds up to a crescendo, and in at least a few scores that crescendo can be loud, brash, fast and unsettling. It is the peak of a musical conflict that begs to be resolved, and it frequently indicates a change in movements. Without a crescendo, a symphony would turn to a lullaby. Beethoven frequently placed his crescendos to wake his audience from sleep. Perhaps in a prayer for Christian Unity that loud brash and crescendo should not be ignored? It does after all serve a purpose as it reminds us of a conflict that awaits its resolution. Crescendos within the church have frequently come about, only to be resolved in the next movement. The schism between orthodoxy and the Latin rite was after all partially resolved through the Catholic recognition of Byzantine rite. That resolution paved the way for the resolution between competing Latin rites that are currently going on. Is that crescendo complete? Not likely, but it has been resolved in the past. In unity some conflicts can be resolved as history clearly indicates. Other conflicts though form the underlying theme of the composition. They are its dogma that cannot change. Should a prayer for Christian Unity be a prayer for the resolution of all that can be resolved? Should it also be a prayer that a constant blasting trumpet never be silenced? Unity should not be attained through relativism or compromise as with that there is the gain of Unity but the loss of Christianity.
O Lord Jesus Christ, who said unto Your Apostles, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you,” regard not our sins, but the faith of Your church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which are agreeable to Your will, who live and reign, God, forever and ever. Amen. (Novena for Christian Unity, Jan.18-25)