In our time, when day by day mankind is being drawn closer together, and the ties between different peoples are becoming stronger, men expect from the various other religions answers to the unsolved riddles of the human condition, which today, even as in former times, deeply stir the hearts of men:
   What is man?
   What is the meaning, the aim of our life?
   Which is the road to true happiness?
   What, finally, is that ultimate inexpressible mystery which encompasses our existence:
   whence do we come, and where are we going? NOSTRA ÆTATE §1

In all eras, men of all cultures and religions have sought a wisdom that could become a point of contact between them in their differences and divergences, and even in what separates them.
Often fascinated by the desert which demands a separation from the world which is full of noise and distractions, they have sought the depths of the interior life.


In Hinduism, men contemplate the divine mystery and express it through an inexaustible abundance of myths and through searching philosophical inquiry. They seek freedom from the anguish of our human condition either through ascetical practices or profound meditation or a flight to God with love and trust. NOSTRA ÆTATE §2

Vishnou, we are going on pilgrimage to your shrine, but we know very well that the statue cannot contain you, nor your temple, nor even the world. You are Lord of the desperate. That is why we are going to you. Anonymous

Solitary and seated in the midst of the shadows of my silent thoughts, I will pronounce your Name. I will pronounce it without words. I will pronounce it without reason. For I am like a child who calls for its mother one hundred times, happy to be able to repeat: “Mama !”. Rabindranath Tagore † 1941


Buddhism, in its various forms, realizes the radical insufficiency of this changeable world; it teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, may be able either to acquire the state of perfect liberation, or attain, by their own efforts or through higher help, supreme illumination. NOSTRA ÆTATE §2

When will I be able to dwell in a mountain cave, alone, without companions, with the intuition of the instability of existence? When will that be my heritage? The mountains and the rocks fill me with joy. Blessed is the solitude of one whose heart overflows with joy, who knows the truth and who keeps his spirit fixed in the truth forever. Anonymous


Other religions found everywhere try to counter the restlessness of the human heart, each in its own manner, by proposing “ways”, comprising teachings, rules of life and sacred rites. NOSTRA ÆTATE §2


“Know yourself and you will know the world and the gods.” Delphic Oracle


Without stepping out the door,
Know all that is under the heavens.
Without looking out the window,
Contemplate the Path of Heaven.
The farther away one goes,
The less one will know.
The Saints did not travel,
However they were well-taught.
Without having looked,
They had discernment.
Without having done anything,
They achieved everything. Anonymous

Gazing upon it, it is not seen.
It is called the invisible.
Listening to it, it is not heard.
It is called inaudible. Anonymous

The loudest sound is silent. Lao Tseu † 6th century BC


The one who goes to the depths of his heart knows the nature of man.
To know one’s nature is to know Heaven. Mencius, VII,A,1 † 290 BC

To lose one’s heart and not to seek to find it again, what unhappiness! A hen or a dog escapes, one seeks them. Someone loses his heart and does not seek to find it again. The way of wisdom is to seek one’s lost heart and nothing else. Mencius, VI,A,11 † 290 BC






The Church also regards with esteem the Muslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly even to his inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham…they revere Jesus as a prophet. They also honor Mary, his virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of jugement when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting. NOSTRA ÆTATE §3

I have a Friend whom I visit in solitude.
Present, even when He escapes my gaze,
You will not see me listening to Him with my ears
in order to receive his language by the noise of words.
His words have neither vowels, nor elocution, nor the melody of voices.
Present, absent, near, far,
He is nearer than awareness is to imagination
and more intimate than the spark of inspirations. Al’Hallaj. Diwan. Muqatta’ât.22 † 922

You dwell there, in my heart,
where reside the secrets that come from You.
I welcome You there where You dwell!
No one is more present within than You:
supreme secret which I perceive there. Al’Hallaj. Diwan. Muqatta’ât.22 † 922

In homage to God, the Beloved par excellence:
Happy are those who contemplate You every night!
Happy are those who speak to You, who sit close to You!
If the sky does not grant me a vision of You,
I will contemplate those who see You.
I who wander in the desert day and night,
My eyes shed tears day and night,
I do not have a fever and nothing is harming me,
But I know only this: I moan day and night. Baba Tâhir Hamadani † 1019

Do not open your mouth unless you are certain that what you are going to say is more beautiful than silence. Arab proverb

You are master of the words which you have not pronounced.
You are a slave of the words which you have let escape from you. Arab proverb