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Christians and Hindus: Rekindling Positivity and Hope during the Covid-19 Pandemic and Beyond
The theme of light conquering darkness is not a new one for followers of many of the world’s religions. It is also the central message at the heart of the Hindu festival of Deepavali – or Diwali as it is more well known. It falls this year on 14 November.
To mark Diwali, in the interest of promoting Hindu-Christian dialogue, the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has released a message of greeting to the world’s Hindus.
This is the twenty-fifth such message but the first released during a global pandemic – COVID-19 – that brings with it widespread anxiety, uncertainty and fear.
The Pontifical Council’s President, Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, is keen to encourage a “positive spirit and hope for the future” in the face of these “apparently insurmountable obstacles, socio-economic, political and spiritual challenges”.
“Our efforts to do so are surely based upon our conviction that God, who created us and sustains us, will never abandon us. An encouragement to be optimistic may well sound unrealistic to those who have lost their loved ones or livelihoods – or both. Even the boldest hope and positivity can dissipate in the tragic situations caused by the present pandemic and its grave effects on daily life, the economy, healthcare, education and religious practices.
“Yet it is precisely trust in God’s providence that inspires us to remain optimistic and to work to rekindle hope in the midst of our societies.
“The pandemic has, in fact, brought a number of positive changes in our way of thinking and living, despite the unprecedented suffering it has caused worldwide and the lockdowns that have disrupted our normal life. Experiences of suffering and a sense of responsibility for one another have brought our communities together in solidarity and concern, in acts of kindness and compassion for the suffering and those in need.
“Such signs of solidarity have led us to appreciate more deeply the importance of coexistence, the fact that we belong to one another and that we need one another for the well-being of all and that of our common home.”
Cardinal Guixot also echoes the words of Pope Francis, who said at his General Audience on 2 September:
“Solidarity today is the road to take towards a post-pandemic world, towards the healing of our interpersonal and social ills… a way of coming out of the crisis better.”
You can download the full message from the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.