So this letter is a big deal for us, and we recommend that you read it! Why?
If you are an Eastern Christian, we recommend it because it helps us to better understand who we are, our dignity, our gifts and our place in the Church and the world. It also challenges us to pray and work toward the unity of the whole Church, East and West, which is urgently necessary as we face the many attacks against Christianity and the need to be a witness of love in the world. "They will know you are My disciples by your love for one another!" (Jn 13:35). How will the world embrace the truth of Jesus Christ if His body is divided?
If you are NOT an Eastern Christian, we recommend it because it was written for you! We will use St. John Paul II's own words from the introduction of the document:
"Since, in fact, we believe that the venerable and ancient tradition of the Eastern Churches is an integral part of the heritage of Christ's Church, the first need for Catholics is to be familiar with that tradition, so as to be nourished by it and to encourage the process of unity in the best way possible for each.
"Our Eastern Catholic brothers and sisters are very conscious of being the living bearers of this tradition, together with our Orthodox brothers and sisters. The members of the Catholic Church of the Latin tradition must also be fully acquainted with this treasure and thus feel, with the Pope, a passionate longing that the full manifestation of the Church's catholicity be restored to the Church and to the world, expressed not by a single tradition, and still less by one community in opposition to the other; and that we too may be granted a full taste of the divinely revealed and undivided heritage of the universal Church which is preserved and grows in the life of the Churches of the East as in those of the West."So the purpose of this letter for all of us is nourishment and unity, no matter to what Tradition we belong. And it's not very long! :)
Let's pray in a special way today for unity, so that we may be able to "offer ourselves to God with the pure hands of reconciliation, and the people of the world will have one more well-founded reason to believe and to hope" (Orientale Lumen, 28).