“Extinguish the fire of war and light the candle of peace’

Submitted by munir on Mon, 03/18/2024 - 14:18

The above headline is the title of the message issued by the Holy See marking the advent of Ramadan, a matter that became traditional years ago, as the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue issues an annual congratulatory message to all Muslims worldwide marking the advent of the Holy month of Ramadan. This year’s message is titled, “Muslims and Christians: Extinguish the Fire of War and Light the Candle of Peace" The message calls on us, Christians and Muslims, to “extinguish the fires of hatred, violence and war, and in lieu of that light the gentle candle of peace, by drawing on the resources for peace found in our rich human and religious traditions.” Undoubtedly, the difference between the fire of war and the light of the candle of peace is vast.


At the outset of the message issued by Cardinal Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, Perfect of the Dicastery of Interreligious Dialogue, addresses the growing number of erupting conflicts nowadays around the world which became truly alarming. Even without mentioning the current locations of these wars, the one who follows up the addresses made by Pope Francis realizes that the Vatican refers to two ugly wars under way these days, namely Ukraine and Gaza. The two peoples suffer and strive to attain their rights to enjoy a life in peace, freedom, and independence.


The message adds that as part of our human family suffers grievously from the devastating effects of the use of arms in warfare, others cynically rejoice in the great economic profit deriving from this immoral commerce. Pope Francis has described this as dipping a morsel of bread in the blood of our brother.


However, the message points to the bright side, namely the enormous human and religious resources that promote peace. The desire for peace and security is deeply rooted in every person of good will, as no one can fail to see the tragic effects of war regarding the loss of human lives, serious injuries, huge numbers of orphans and widows.


The message points out to the tragic consequences of wars which include destruction of infrastructure and properties, and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people within their countries, or being forced to flee to other countries as refugees. Consequently, “the condemnation and rejection of war should be unambiguous. Every war is fratricide, useless, senseless, and dark. In war, everyone loses. Once again, according to the words of Pope Francis: “No war is holy, only peace is holy”. This is what Pope John Paul II accentuated 22 years ago when he reacted to the American war American war on Iraq, and said: “In war, there is neither a loser nor a winner, but everyone is a loser.” Yet, the world did not listen to him at that time, unfortunately.


The annual pontifical message, which is issued annually on the first Friday of Ramadan, affirms that all religions, each in their own way, consider human life sacred, and thus a renewed invitation that calls on the basic human dignity to respect the gift of life regarding the conviction that war must be rejected and peace cherished. The pontifical message highlights the important role of forming consciences to respect the absolute value of the life of each person and his or her right to physical integrity, security ,and a dignified life  which will likewise contribute to the condemnation and rejection of war, any war and all wars.


The message of the Dicastery of Interreligious Dialogue concludes by stating, “We look to the Almighty as God of peace, the source of peace, who in a special way loves all those who devote their lives to the service of peace. Like so many things, peace is a divine gift but at the same time the fruit of human efforts, especially in preparing the conditions necessary for its establishment and preservation.”


In conclusion, the Catholic Center for Studies and Media (CCSM) in Jordan as has been the case every rear extends this message to various media outlets. We seize this opportunity to extend well- marking the advent of the holy month of Ramadan, pleading with the Almighty God to protect the extended Jordanian family under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah I Ibn Al-Hussein and  His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al-Hussein Ibn Abdullah with hopes that this holy month will be marked in the future at a time when wishes for the attainment of peace and security would be restored in the afflicted Gaza Strip, in Palestine in general, and in all other countries of the world that aspire for justice, freedom and peace.

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Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader