[UN-NGO]During this week of Unity, the Holy See’s permanent mission to the UN in Geneva organized an inter-religious service at the Ecumenical Center of Churches in Geneva. a representative of each Christian community as well as Jewish, Muslin and Buddhist communities commented on the message of Benedict XVI for the World Day of Peace 2013: “Blessed are the Peacemakers”.
All the country delegations at the UN were invited as well as Catholic NGO’s and members of other international organizations.
A number of converging points were heard among the commentaries:
1. Recognition of the present world situation with war, violence and humiliation of women, killing of civilians, refugees, terrorism, violence, the financial crisis and financial capitalism without regulation, competition for power and thirst for profit… All of this constitutes fertile territory where peace is sacrificed and human dignity is violated.
2. The major obstacle to the way to peace is extremism which takes on many forms: religious, political or otherwise, but which leads its adherents to commit unacceptable acts, is harmful to humanity and which disfigures the face of religion. This was clearly recognized by the representative of Islam. He quoted the Prophet Muhammad who warned: “those who exaggerate perish! Beware of exaggeration in religion.”
- it concerns the dignity of the human person and requires a total commitment of humanity
- it is based on truth, freedom, love and justice
- it is a natural desire of the human family, a goal, a process to be developed tirelessly.
All the representatives ardently desire peace and ask, “But when will peace come?”
4. Who are the peacemakers?
- those who are willing to sacrifice their own interests for the greater good. In the Buddhist context are those who are on the way to become perfect beings, “The reality of peace must begin in the mind of every person. Meditation is a process through which the mind is educated and cultivated as a land where good deeds grow. A wide open mind can build relationships with others with a high degree of empathy. “
- are they peaceful people who strive to live in peace or are they the peacemakers who strive to make peace? They are reconcilers that promote reconciliation between peoples. Peace is the goal of men and women; this is an ongoing task to which one must work throughout one’s life. According to Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, peace is the “leaven from the dough … the eternal driving force of human destiny.” St. Seraphim of Sarov also advises to “acquire inner peace first and many find rest in You”.
In conclusion, it was uplifting to hear the Church representatives apply the Old and New Testament of the Bible and comment on the words of Pope Benedict XVI and to appropriate them in light of their own religion. All the representatives shared, in their own words, the desire of millions of believers who truly aspire for Peace.
The celebration continued with an encounter which enabled us to exchange information about our convictions and commitments. Such meetings are important to strengthen our collaborations, grow in confidence and a sense of solidarity in the building of peace.
Geneva, 26 January 2013
Sister Monique Javouhey
For more information on Daughters of Charity at the UN: www.cmdcngo.org