I had quite a mental breakthrough a few minutes ago when posting on another thread. I was talking about the passage in John 17 where Jesus prayed that we might be one as He and His Father are one, and I noticed that every element of Catholicism draws us toward unity.
Prayer to the saints or to Jesus draws us into unity with them. Having one official set of dogmas, one Church Tradition, one Pope and Magesterium, one authoritative leadership structure binding on all of us sets up a clear standard of righteousness and draws us toward unity. Having one infallible truth revealed rather than vast varieties of alternative opinions about sacred truth allowed creates unity with the one who said, “I am the Truth,” and unity with one another at the same time.
I also noticed that the virtues of charity, of giving up one’s possessions for others, create unity. They bring souls together, create relationships of love and draw both us and the poor closer to God.
Also, the battle of sin brings about deeper unity to the true Spirit of the Mystical Body of Christ. The Church’s true spiritual heart is altogether good. We come into more unity with one another the more we abandon sin. When we abandon ourselves, we receive everyone else. Mercy brings unity between people, as does humility and kindness and every other virtue.
Confession destroys sin, creating unity. The Eucharist brings the wholeness of God to everyone, making us one in flesh, spirit, soul, and divine grace. It makes us wholly one and is the ultimate expression of that unity. The Sacrament of Healing brings unity of body and soul to the place God wants them, which obviously is unity with His Body as well. Every Sacrament, every dogma, every part of the ecclesiastical hierarchy and every Tradition, every Scripture (when read through the Magesterium) and every part of grace, fighting sin and uniting with virtue is uniting with the Church, fulfilling Jesus’ prayer that we might all be one. Everything we faithfully do in the Christian life draws us into unity with one another and with God.
I’m not talking about the fake unity relativists applaud, the unity that says differences over truth and morality don’t matter, thus degrading both and upholding a lie. The real unity is what I’m talking about, the unity of agreement in mind, body, spirit and soul in Truth. That is real unity, the unity of the Church, and everything encouraged or upheld in the Catholic religion draws us into it.
Even excommunication is a holy way of drawing souls into deeper unity with one another, for St. Paul says the following about it.
1 Corinthians 5:1-5, "It is widely reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of a kind not found even among pagans–a man living with his father’s wife. And you are inflated with pride. Should you not rather have been sorrowful? The one who did this deed should be expelled from your midst.
“I, for my part, although absent in body but present in spirit, have already, as if present, pronounced judgment on the one who has committed this deed, in the name of (our) Lord Jesus: when you have gathered together and I am with you in spirit with the power of the Lord Jesus,** you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord**.”
Discipline and generosity, indulgences and verdicts in the Catholic Church are all oriented toward binding all the faithful together in ever deepening unity. The prayer Christ made in John 17, that we might be wholly one with one another and one in truth consumes the Catholic Church to the brim. The Catholic Church is overflowing with grace. Every part of it draws the human family into perfect unity.