Sunday 6 October 2013

Rome 2013, in the name of a peaceful “revolt” of hope

In the past few days in Rome, in the opening ceremony at the Auditorium of Via della Conciliazione near Saint Peter, as well as in the various and crowded roundtables around the city, and in the closing ceremony in the splendid and evocative setting of Capitol Hill, we have emphasized the value and strength of hope and experienced a peaceful “revolt” of hope.
A revolt against all pessimism and resignation, against all temptations to leave the field to despair and to the contamination of ancient religious traditions. It was a revolt organized by the Community of Sant’Egidio and carried out by a diverse and heterogeneous group of people, of men and women of all faiths, the protagonists of the “The Courage to Hope”, a new stage of the
pilgrimage of the Spirit of Assisi.
On the first day of the meeting Andrea Riccardi reminded us how religions constitute a reserve of hope in a world marked by dramatization that induces to run in circles, that leads to inaction and fear. In front of the tragic and terrible images that come to us from Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Kenya, the faithful knows that he must preserve hope, that he must nurture hope, erasing the holy name of God from the lips of those who are violent, rescuing people under the spell of violence, educating them to peace, respect and reciprocal appreciation.
The Roman meeting has therefore presented itself as “a show of hope to contrast the show of terror that we see on television screens and sometimes in our lives”. This means nurturing a vision of the future beyond the pessimism fueled by the ongoing economic crisis. It means to continue to entertain a dream even when people live the nightmares of a difficult story.
Clearly not an easy task, and a big one, in a time that feels like the “winter of hope”, says the founder of Sant’Egidio, “but religions teach us that God is even greater” and that “hope is never lost, you can find it at the bottom of the well of the soul, of a life lived with peace in one’s heart”.
When he welcomed to the Vatican the protagonists of the meeting, on Monday September 30th, Pope Francis echoed such sentiment. He encouraged all to live with confidence and perseverance the mission to bear witness to the hope, to be “artisans of peace”. “Dialogue gives hope. Hope! In the world, in societies, there is little peace because there is a lack of dialogue. Dialogue is the path to peace. This is why it is essential that it grow, that it expand among people of all conditions and beliefs like a web of peace that protects the world and especially the weakest ones”.  

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