Pope Benedict XVI welcomed an ecumenical delegation from Finland making its annual pilgrimage to the Vatican on Thursday, telling them the ecumenical journey is marked by justice, kindness and humility.
The visit by the delegation, which includes the Lutheran Church in Finland, comes on the eve of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It also marks the feast of Saint Henrik, the patron saint of Finland.
The pope touched on the theme of the prayer week this year which is taking from the Book of the Prophet Micah: "What does God require of us" (Micah 6:6-8).
"The prophet makes clear, of course, what the Lord requires of us: it is "to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God (v.8)," he said, according to a transcript of the Pope's remarks released by The Vatican Today.
"Walking humbly in the presence of the Lord, in obedience to his saving word and with trust in his gracious plan, serves as an eloquent image not only of the life of faith, but also of our ecumenical journey on the path towards the full and visible unity of all Christians," said Pope Benedict. "On this path of discipleship, we are called to advance together along the narrow road of fidelity to God's sovereign will in facing whatever difficulties or obstacles we may eventually encounter."
To advance in the ways of ecumenical communion, the head of the Catholic Church said it was necessary to become more united in prayer, more committed to the pursuit of holiness and more engaged in areas of theological research and cooperation in the service of a just and fraternal society.
"By walking together in humility along the path of justice, mercy and righteousness which the Lord has pointed out to us, Christians will not only dwell in the truth, but also be beacons of joy and hope to all those who are looking for a sure point of reference in our rapidly changing world," said the Pope.