February 5, 2024
Today is the fifth of our daily reflections for Interfaith Harmony Week. (If you missed any of the other days, you can find them in the blog section of our website, interfaithpeaceproject.org .) The Interfaith Peace Project is pleased to offer you these reflections for each day of Interfaith Harmony Week, February 1-7, 2024.
Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P
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Interfaith Harmony Week
February 1-7, 2024
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
The history of Interfaith relations is long, complex, and worthy of consideration. Some of the most ancient and enduring Traditions have insights that are crucial to our contemporary understandings and approaches.
The Tradition known as Hinduism has always taught and perceived the essential “oneness” of reality. The consequences of such a perspective lead to the modern idea that everything is interrelated, interconnected, and interdependent. This is a marvelous way to perceive and experience reality.
The recent history of Interfaith relations emphasized the need to tolerate one another as our opinions, convictions, and experiences differ.
Soon, tolerance gave way to the need to respect one another as we actively share what meaning our lives might ultimately have.
Along the way, some wise sayings emerged to try and grasp the meaning and purpose of Interfaith pursuits and dialogue. One such statement insightfully and boldly proclaimed, “What unites us is far greater than what divides us.”
Forgive me, but I find this dictum to be insufficient as it stands. It assumes too much. It sounds too vague. The question emerges, “What exactly unites us?”
The standard answer usually concerns belief in God or common decency. These answers are not universal and remain vague and open to misunderstanding.
I have a proposal as to what unites or, at least, should unite us. It is not an idea or a theory of belief. Our love for the children of the World unites us (or has the potential to unite us).
We can be very unkind to our children. We might even try to relive our lives through them, forgetting they have a right to be themselves. They are often the victims of war and the pawns of unscrupulous politicians. Our children invite us to be the best we can be.
One Tradition powerfully and beautifully proclaims: “Children are God’s opinion the World should be blessed.”
Before we say or do anything else, we might want to pause and consider if our actions will bless or harm the children. Please, let the children live and be happy.
I look in the mirror
And what do I see,
I see the me
No one else can be. …
Nyla Theriot, age 9
Today, I will bless the children, all the children.
I will bless them with my heart, my soul, my testimony.
I will speak up for the human rights of all children to have food, shelter, clothing, and love.
Today, I will bless all the children in the World.