.- The Vatican released, today, a message from Cardinal Paul Poupard, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, to members of the Hindu faith in commemoration of the Feast of Diwali, the Festival of Lights, which falls this year on October 21. The title of the message is: "Overcoming hatred with love."
The cardinal began by noting that, “the reality of love is closely connected to truth, light, goodness, and life.”
“I would like to reflect on this theme of love, through which believers of different religions are invited to overcome the evil of hatred and distrust in contemporary society.”
Cardinal Poupard reflected on this year’s terrorist bombing in Mumbai, India, which, he noted, were another example of the phenomena of hate and distrust ending in “brutal violence.”
“I am sure that, enriched in the light of our particular religious traditions, our resolve to invite all believers to overcome hatred by love will benefit society at large,” he said.
Poupard noted that his reflection on love had been inspired by Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical letter “Deus Caritas est” (God is Love). “The Pope wrote this letter, convinced that his message is both timely and significant ‘in a world where the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence’ (n. 1),” the cardinal said.
“The importance and demands of love can be best learned from God who, the Christian faith professes, is Himself Love, and whose eternal Son, for love of us, became incarnate in the Person of Jesus Christ. God is the source and fullness of all love. Our love for one another becomes worthy of its name only when it has its source in God and is nourished by our union with the same God,” Poupard noted, mentioning Blessed Mother Teresa who, “constantly renewed her love of neighbor and her selfless service to the poor in her encounter with God in incessant daily prayer.”
“God loves us all without exception,” the cardinal said, “and his love is unconditional.”
However, he continued, “our human response to God’s love must be spelt out in concrete stewardship of God’s creatures, especially to human beings. It is urgent and necessary that believers of different religions manifest jointly to the world that hatred can be overcome by love. In today’s complex societies, is it not possible for us to join hands and collaborate in seeking justice for all, working together on common projects, for the development of the downtrodden, the marginalized, the destitute, the orphan and the weak?”
Returning again to the Pope’s Encyclical, the cardinal noted that, “despite the great advances made in science and technology, each day we see how much suffering there is in the world on account of different kinds of poverty, both material and spiritual” (Deus caritas est, n. 30).”
Cardinal Poupard then turned to “Deus Caritas est” one final time noting that, “Love is the light – and in the end, the only light – that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working’ (n. 39).”
“The Pope’s words,” Poupard noted, “obviously refer to Jesus Christ who is the Light of the world. However, these words can also draw your attention since for you the meaning of your feast, Diwali, is symbolized by light. May our love finally overcome the darkness of hatred in the world! Happy Diwali to you, my dear Hindu friends!”