Want Peace? Pray, Says Pope

Message to Meeting in «Spirit of Assisi» Emphasizes God’s Gift

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 4, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Service to peace requires a priority commitment to prayer, according to Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this in a message sent on his behalf by his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, to the International Meeting of Prayer for Peace, under way through Tuesday in Barcelona, Spain.

The meeting is a continuation of the first interreligious and intercultural meeting called in 1986 in Assisi by Pope John Paul II. The Catholic lay Community of Sant’Egidio sponsors it each year.

«At a difficult time of crises and conflicts, made more acute by the ever more widespread phenomenon of globalization, religions are called to fulfill their special vocation of service to peace and coexistence,» the message affirmed. «To live as a genuine community of brothers and sisters, all peoples need to be inspired and supported by the common foundation of spiritual and ethical values.»

In this regard, the note continued, religions help society as a whole to «promote the inviolable dignity of every human being,» since they recognize the source of each person’s existence in God.

Demanding

The Holy Father’s message affirmed that «selfless service to peace exacts from all believers the inescapable and priority commitment to prayer.»

Peace is a gift from God, he continued, citing John Paul II, and it is only possible to find and build it in relationship with him.

«In prayer, we are also given the possibility to learn the language of peace and respect, strengthening that seed of peace that God himself has sown in men’s hearts, and which constitutes, beyond differences of race, culture and religion, the most profound longing of the human being,» the papal message continued. «At the same time, in prayer we can find new spiritual strength so as not to be defeated by the difficulties and snares of evil, and not to fail in the necessary path of dialogue, which definitively removes misunderstandings and suspicions, and allows us to continue building, as brothers and members of the same human family, the path of harmonious coexistence.»

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