Hindu Organizations Honor Chiara Lubich

COIMBATORE, India, JAN. 8, 2001 (ZENIT.org).- Several prestigious Hindu institutions in India recently honored Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement, for her tireless work in favor of unity and peace.

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The awards ceremony was held on January 5 in Coimbatore, India. The event was an important opportunity for dialogue and friendship between Hindus and Christians.

The «Defender of Peace» prize was awarded to Lubich by Shanti Ashram, an organization dedicated especially to social action in the field of education for the neediest; and by the Sarbodoya movement, which takes its name from one of the leading ideas of Mahatma Gandhi, namely, commitment to a life of dignity for all.

In the presence of an audience of more than 500 people, Hindu leaders acknowledged the tireless endeavor of Lubich to «sow seeds of peace and love among men and women, a sign that the message of Jesus Christ is relevant, timely, and useful to resolve contemporary issues.»

The whole ceremony was centered on two key concepts: the importance of reciprocal acceptance, and the need for love to overcome difficulties and divisions.

During her address, Lubich referred to her spiritual experience since the beginning of the Focolare Movement. «The Lord led us to the heart of his Gospel, which is the law of love, in order to live that ´Golden Rule´ that is common to all religions: ´Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,´ or, as Mahatma Gandhi admirably said: ´You and I are one and the same. I cannot wound you without harming myself.´ «

The president of Bharatya Vidya Bhavan of Coimbatore, a cultural and religious institute regarded as a point of reference for Hindu orthodoxy, stressed this same point. «India is a country with a great cultural and religious heritage, but today it must face new challenges, and grave social problems, which are often linked to a materialist mentality, desirous of possessions and devoid of moral values,» he said.

Sri Krishna Raji Rayar, president of Bharatya Vidya Bhavan, observed that the «central issue, therefore, is to overcome hatred with love, and to transmit it to others. Chiara has shown us the way because she has had an experience of God.»

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