PONTIFICAL COUNCIL for INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE
to the Tendai Buddhist Congregation
Mt. Hiei Prayer for Peace Celebration 2016
I am pleased to extend my prayerful greeting to you and to the brothers and sisters of different religious traditions gathered on the occasion of the 29th annual celebration of the Religious Summit Meeting on Mount Hiei, on the 4th of August 2016. On this important occasion, I extend my warmest congratulations to you as well as to all the members of Tendai Buddhist Denomination for your commitment to foster peace through prayer in the “spirit of Assisi”.
Dear brothers and sisters, this year marks the 30th anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi. Saint John Paul II, in his opening address in Assisi on October 27, 1986, noted that “We are here because we are sure, that, above and beyond all such measures, we need prayer – intense, humble and trusting prayer – if the world is finally to become a place of true and permanent peace.” ( World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi, 27 October 1986). We all agree that the flame of peace, lit in Assisi, has spread throughout the world and become a beacon of hope for our troubled world.
As religious people, we are aware that prayer is a vital element of our daily life. Personal and community prayers draw us into a closer relationship with the Ultimate Truth, with our fellow human beings, and with nature. St. John Chrysostom says that “Prayer silences the passions of the soul, assuages the rebellion of anger, dismisses envy, dissipates evil desire, withers the love of worldly things, and brings great peace and serenity to the soul.” Since the benefits of prayer are so universally recognized, we are confident it can rekindle the flame of love in our hearts and overflow into the world around us, generating great spiritual power.
Interreligious dialogue and prayer are intrinsically related since dialogue is first of all a dialogue with God and then becomes a dialogue with oneself and with others. In this regard, Pope Francis says, “Dear brothers and sisters, as for the future of interreligious dialogue, the first thing we have to do is pray, and pray for one another: we are brothers and sisters! […] May our prayer - each one according to his or her own tradition - adhere fully to the will of God, who wants all men and women to recognize they are brothers and sisters and live as such, forming the great human family in the harmony of diversity. (General Audience, Interreligious Meeting for 50th Anniversary of Nostra aetate, 28 Oct 2015).
Dear religious leaders, today the world looks to us to help solve the greatest problems it has ever faced. We will surely fail as religious leaders if we fail to offer the world, dialogue and prayer as great resources to transform the woundedness of humanity through their power of healing, reconciliation, peace building. The annual Inter-religious Prayer Gathering for World Peace on Mount Hiei reminds us once again that instead of the power of arms we can turn to the power of prayer and dialogue to resolve the problems afflicting the human family and the environment.
May this Year of Mercy, called for by Pope Francis, offer all of us an opportunity to convert our prayers into works of charity in order to bring healing and consolation to our wounded human family.
While offering all of you my heartfelt, fraternal good wishes, I assure you of my prayerful support for a successful gathering.
Vatican City, 05 July 2016
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran