04/16/2021, 15.45
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Vatican issues message for Ramadan: Christians and Muslims as witnesses of hope

Hope is needed most to cope with today’s suffering and angst. Transcending human optimism, it “has its basis in something religious: God loves us, and therefore cares for us through his providence”.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue released a message addressed to Muslims today titled ‘Christians and Muslims: Witnesses of Hope’ on the occasion of Ramadan and ahead of the feast of ʻĪd al-Fiṭr, the Festival of Breaking the Fast, which marks the end of the holy month.

Signed by the president of the Pontifical Council, Card Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, MCCJ, and its secretary, Fr Indunil Kodithuwakku Janakaratne Kankanamalage, the statement stresses the meaning hope has for believers, based on the “belief that all our problems and trials have a meaning, a value and a purpose, however difficult or impossible it may be for us to understand the reason for them or to find a way out of them.”

“During these long months of suffering, anguish and sorrow, especially during the lockdown periods, we sensed our need for divine assistance, but also for expressions and gestures of fraternal solidarity: a telephone call, a message of support and comfort, a prayer, help in buying medicines or food, advice, and, to put it simply, the security of knowing that someone is always there for us in times of necessity.

“The divine assistance that we need and seek, especially in circumstances like those of the current pandemic, is manifold: God’s mercy, pardon, providence and other spiritual and material gifts.”

“While optimism is a human attitude, hope has its basis in something religious: God loves us, and therefore cares for us through his providence. He does this in his own mysterious ways, which are not always comprehensible to us.”

“Hope also carries with it belief in the goodness present in the heart of every person. Many times, in situations of difficulty and despair, help, and the hope it brings, can come from those whom we least expect.

“Human fraternity, in its numerous manifestations, thus becomes a source of hope for all, especially for those in any kind of need. Thanks be to God our Creator, and to our fellow men and women, for the quick response and generous solidarity shown by believers and also persons of good will with no religious affiliation in times of disaster, whether natural or man-made, like conflicts and wars.

“All these persons and their goodness remind us believers that the spirit of fraternity is universal, and that it transcends all boundaries: ethnic, religious, social and economic. In adopting this spirit, we imitate God, who looks benevolently upon the humanity he created, upon all other creatures and upon the entire universe.” Hence, care for what Pope Francis calls our “common house” grows.

“We are also aware that hope has its enemies: lack of faith in God’s love and care; loss of trust in our brothers and sisters; pessimism; despair and its opposite, unfounded presumption; unfair generalizations based on one’s own negative experiences, and so forth. These harmful thoughts, attitudes and reactions must be effectively countered, so as to strengthen hope in God and trust in all our brothers and sisters.”

In his encyclical Tutti Fratelli, Francis often talks about hope as a form of “thirst, an aspiration, a longing for a life of fulfilment, a desire to achieve great things, things that fill our heart and lift our spirit to lofty realities like truth, goodness and beauty, justice and love . . .”.

“We, Christians and Muslims, are called to be bearers of hope, for the present life and for the life to come, and to be witnesses, restorers and builders of this hope, especially for those experiencing difficulties and despair.”

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