The Secretariat for the Service of Faith [SoF] organized a webinar on Dialogue of Life: Challenges and Opportunities in Our Troubled Times on 23rd August, 2021, with Joseph Victor Edwin SJ as the resource person. Fr. Arun Kumar SJ, Secretary, SoF, in his opening remarks pointed out that we live in a world where religion plays a significant role in our lives. Each religion bears the truth in varied expressions and practices. Religions, instead of enabling people to live in harmony and peace, have often become a source for conflict, violence, and bloodshed. Practitioners of diverse faiths must move from hostility to one another and open themselves for the lights from different sources. Fr. Xavier Tharamel SJ moderated the session.
Victor Edwin noted that Dialogue of Life demands people to strive to live in an open and neighbourly spirit, sharing their joys and sorrows, their human problems and preoccupations. He further pointed out that the dialogue of life is founded on Peace, Justice, Life and Truth. He reminded his listeners of the words of Pope Paul VI, “If you want peace, work for justice” and Pope John Paul II “If you want peace, work for justice. If you want justice, defend life. If you want life, embrace truth …”
A balanced attitude, religious conviction, and openness to truth must mark the life of one who is engaged in dialogue. He further affirmed that sincerity of interreligious dialogue requires that one enters into it, with the integrity of his or her own faith. At the same time, we must remember that God has also manifested himself in some way to the followers of other religious traditions. We must not forget, he said, that “… truth is not a thing we possess, but a person by whom we must allow ourselves to be possessed. Insufficient grounding in one’s own faith, insufficient knowledge about others and polemical spirit, choke and obstruct dialogue of life,” he mentioned. Pope Francis is a beautiful model for us, he pointed out. Like him, we must ‘go forth’ knowing that that the Lord has taken the initiative, that He has loved us first (1 John 4:19), and therefore we can move forward.