10/16/2006, 00.00
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Overcoming hatred with love: Vatican sends message for Hindu festival of Diwali

In the message believers of different religions are urged to work together for a world where there is justice for all, especially the weakest.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Believers from different religions have the possibility, and thus a duty, to show God's love for all creatures, especially human beings, and, uniting their efforts, work together to bring justice to all and eradicate hatred from their hearts.

"Overcoming hatred with love" is the title of the message the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue sent to Hindus on the Feast of Diwali. Known as Deepavali (lines of earthen lamps), the "Festival of Lights" represents the victory of truth over untruth, of light over darkness, of life over death, of good over evil.

The celebrations last three days and mark the beginning of the New Year, family reconciliation—especially of siblings—, and adoration of God.

"As people seeking the Absolute you will pause for a short while on your spiritual journey and joyfully celebrate Deepavali, your ancient religious feast, which for you signifies the victory of truth over untruth, light over darkness, good over evil and life over death," said the message signed by Card Paul Poupard, chairman of the Pontifical Council.

"The reality of love", he noted, "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. The recent terrorist bomb attacks in Mumbai, India, are yet another example of these phenomena which so often end 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."

"The importance and demands of love," the prelate added, "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. Blessed (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta, for example, constantly renewed her love of neighbour and her selfless service to the poor in her encounter with God in incessant daily prayer."

"God loves us all without exception and his love is unconditional. 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 marginalised, the destitute, the orphan and the weak?"

"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). Moral and spiritual poverty, which are caused by breeding hatred in one's heart, can be eradicated by believers who are filled with love and compassion. Love creates trust, which in turn, promotes genuine relationships among believers of different religions."

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