Many initiatives of sharing are within our grasp...
Michael (Germany) left Taizé in June, after a year as a volunteer.
In June, I left Taizé after eleven month of work as a volunteer. There were many things which were on my mind and distracted me after returning back home, but after some time, I discovered more and more the huge treasure I carried within myself: the memories of Taizé life. And Taizé life means common life, meeting others, exchanging, sharing what we have.
Earlier, thinking about the term "sharing", I mostly associated it with something material. After my experiences in Taizé, working and living together with other volunteers from all over the world, I discovered, that sharing can go far beyond this.
We can share joy and suffering, our cultural background, memories, doubts, confidence, trust and faith. Often, we do so unconsciously, but it is wonderful when we discover these moments of simple sharing in our daily life.
In common life, we can find moments of creation due to sharing, which can also help us to understand the mystery of the Eucharist. Only if we give and share ourselves can we create something new and unexpected, something unique. Those moments of simple sharing can be transforming, creating deep communion with others. What else is communion in the shared and given body of Christ?! Moments of sharing whatever we have can be a reverberation of the eucharistic mystery in our daily life.
Those moments linger on in our memories, unforgettable, waiting to be shared again.
...developing support networks, promoting twinning between towns, villages or parishes, to help those who are in need.
Barbara (Chile) comes from the diocese of Concepción, where each summer young people from different deaneries and parishes animate "Rural missions".
Each parish makes the commitment to visit for two summers a specific sector of the region. These sectors are far from the city; some of the inhabitants live in the fields, their main activity is farming, and they have no running water or electricity yet. Although all the families know one another, the houses are far apart, the roads are precarious and people go on foot, on horseback or on bicycle. The closest church is far from these families, who have set up some small chapels. But because of the distance and lack of time, a priest only celebrates the Eucharist once a month.
This is the reality I discovered with my parish community by visiting the families of this region. We prepared ourselves for some time to organize the religious instruction for the children and the adults. Day after day, we visited the families in the mornings and had times of sharing on religious topics in the afternoons.
I was surprised to see how much the people expected our visit, how they welcomed us with affection and always with something to share. I thought that I would have a lot to give, but in the end I received so much more. I met an elderly lady who lives in great solitude. She spent her whole life taking care of her parents; when they died she was left completely alone. She lived in a small house; the closest neighbors were a few kilometers away. The first time I visited her she asked me to look at her prayer-book; she explained that every day she took a bible text and chose a verse to write her prayer. When I began to read her book, I discovered that she thanked God for everything that happened during the day.
It’s incredible, but when you call a stranger brother, God himself comes on our road. Small gestures, that often seem to be almost meaningless help us in this way to sow hope, and to see that there are always things we can thank God for.
... travelling in order to understand other cultures and other human situations from within…
Amanda (Sweden) took part in the recent meeting in Manila.
I love travelling. I love to meet people who want to share their life for a while. To see how people live, to see how different and, at the same time, alike our lives are. To share the daily life of someone else is a gift, especially since we are living out of different conditions.
I participated in the Taizé meeting in the Philippines, and I somehow felt more at home in the Philippines than I’ve ever done in Sweden. In my high school with 1400 students, we were about 25 who said that we were believers, that we have a faith. In the Philippines there were signs everywhere saying "Jesus loves you!" and "In God we trust", and this was for me amazing to see, a country living in faith!
What I feel during my travels is a bit similar to the feeling you can get during spending one week in Taizé. People are open, honestly interested in what you have to say and who you are. It’s just about capturing the moments offered. To gather people from different contexts creates a concrete place for your faith and personality to grow. To visit different countries, within the spirit of Taizé, convinces you that every good relation you are willing to work with contributes to a start of a better world.
...making good use of new technologies to create links of mutual assistance...
Guna Anna (Latvia) is trying to reconcile her faith and her professional responsabilities.
Thank God for all the gifts he has given us. Thank God for making me ask myself some tough questions a while ago - should I keep using my God-given gifts to boost the already thriving capitalism, be a slave of my own will power, material goals and force on becoming a "millionaire"? Or maybe I could use my experience and gifts to implement the good 21st century communication technologies and techniques into my parish to connect, reconnect and spread the Word further and deeper than before. But how to live without spending my days in a fancy office, important strategical meetings, brainstorms, parties, feeling and being an “important” business person, how to live with less than I have already? Thank God, “less is more”.
After making this decision and radical change in my life, I know for sure - the less I have, the more I have to share. “A man reaps what he sows,” right? Thank God again for showing where to sow using the gifts he has given."