The Archbishop of Westminster has joined with the Archbishop of Canterbury in urging Catholics to pray Thy Kingdom Come, a global movement between Ascension and Pentecost that encourages more people to come to know Christ.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols says in an interview with Archbishop Justin Welby that he senses in the world today a "deep unease" at how things but also sometimes, a "buoyant hope" that they will be transformed.
The prayer Thy Kingdom Come is "a prayer of longing" and therefore has elements of contrition in it, he says.
But it’s also a prayer of hope, a prayer of trust in the promise that all things in Christ will be rendered good and whole and given to the Father. "So to me it is a very wonderful prayer where there is a harmony that is written into creation that will be achieved. And in the meantime we live with unease and pain and regret, and great fidelity to the promise if what Christ can do and what Christ will do."
Thy Kingdom Come, from 10 to 20 May, is a global prayer movement, which invites Christians around the world to pray between Ascension and Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus Christ.
It began as an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and also the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu in 2016 to the Church of England, but has in just two years grown into an ecumenical call to prayer that has spread worldwide.
Now in its third year, Thy Kingdom Come continues to gather momentum. Last year, hundreds of thousands of Christians, in more than 85 countries from Canada to Australia, South Sudan to Japan, took part. It is hoped that this year there will be even more.
Cardinal Nichols says: "It was put to me that when we think of our task of proclaiming Jesus, we should remember that the unfolding of the incarnation goes back to the first act of creation. And it is because the world is created through that eternal word that gradually becomes a fitting dwelling place for the incarnate word."
We have to be able to somehow help each other to see that this is God’s creation, he says. "It is good, it is beautiful, it is purposeful."
He continues: "If we don’t have a sense of our own beauty and of the goodness of the world, we’re probably not yet in the place where we can say to somebody ‘Come to Jesus’ because he is coming to you."
The prayer demands "a transformation of the way we habitually see each other and see our world, because the kingdom is already in the substance of the created order, otherwise it couldn’t possibly be God’s creation. God only does what’s good and beautiful."
Archbishop Welby says: "It seems to say that when we encourage people to join in this 10 days of prayer between 10 and 20 May, and praying Thy Kingdom Come, praying for those who are outside the life of the church, praying for situations and tragedies and good things, they don’t have to come full of, in exactly the right place, they just come as they are, with the pain and that wonderful word unease – which may come from their own life."
Archbishop Sentamu said: "It is my prayer that we shall continue growing in confidence to share Christ; that we shall see the Holy Spirit bringing joy, healing, reconciliation, and hope to many, and bringing new life both to Church and community, to the glory of God the Father."