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The Vatican and a Message of Hope During Ramadan
An aerial view of the Vatican. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Vatican and a Message of Hope During Ramadan

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London, April 25

Every year and on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan, it is customary for the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) to send a message to the Islamic world. This year’s message, titled “Christians and Muslims: Witnesses of Hope,” offered sincere fraternal wishes that the month of Ramadan this year would be rich with divine blessings and spiritual growth. Fasting, which is accompanied by prayer, charity and other acts of devotion, brings us closer to God and helps us pursue the path of brotherhood and solidarity. The message focused on the events of the past year, when the world felt pain, anxiety, sadness and fear — especially during the period of lockdown, when the thing human beings were lacking most was solidarity: a message of support, a prayer, help with purchasing medicine or food, or a heartfelt conversation. The words of the message remind us that what we need most during trying times like these is hope. Hope is the only thing that can get human beings through adversity. Unlike optimism, which is a human predisposition, hope has religious foundations. Hope is a reminder that while we might not always understand the tests to which we are put, God always has a plan for us. All of our problems and tribulations are meaningful, valuable and purposeful, no matter how difficult or even impossible it is to understand their cause. Hope carries with it the belief in the goodness that exists in every person’s heart. Many times, in difficult circumstances and despair, help may come to us from people from who we were least expecting help. The message from the Vatican reminds us believers that the spirit of brotherhood is universal, and that it crosses all ethnic, religious, social and economic boundaries. It also reminds us that the biggest threat to hope is the loss of confidence in our brothers and sisters, pessimism and despair. Therefore, it is imperative to resist these attitudes and strengthen our faith in God and our confidence in our fellow humans. Ultimately, the pope’s message calls on Muslims and Christians around the world to be bearers of hope for this life as well as for the life to come, especially for those who suffer from difficulties and despair. Despite Ramadan being a Muslim festival, its message is universal — reflecting the wishes of Christians and Muslims alike. – Emile Amin (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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