You have all come as pilgrims to Taizé. Several groups of you will continue your pilgrimage to Madrid, where World Youth Day is being held. With some brothers I will also go there next week.
Some of you have come from far away. The most difficult trip was made by a group from Sweden. Their bus caught fire on the way. Fortunately the driver realized the danger. He was able to stop the bus alongside the highway and get everyone out. It was 1am. The bus was completely burned up, with all the luggage. Thirteen of them still wanted to continue the trip and they are here among us. With them we thank God that no one was hurt and we pray for those who chose to return to Sweden.
In faith we are all pilgrims. Throughout our lives we seek to deepen our trust in God. What an adventure, one that leads us to move forward constantly while reviving in us the conviction that nothing can separate us from the love of God—neither tribulation nor anguish, neither things present nor things to come!
Faith means to follow Christ, to live as he lived. Brother Roger liked to recall that we cannot understand everything about the gospel, but the important thing is to put into practice a few words we have understood. That can be enough to change our life.
For Brother Roger, one saying was capital; it comes from the First Letter of John: "God is love." At the end of his life he often repeated the words, "All God can do is love."
We cannot look for this love of God only in a feeling. It is a reality deeper than our thoughts or our feelings. We gain access to God’s love by giving him our trust. And this love gradually becomes the foundation of our existence, of our big and little decisions.
Brother Roger decided to give his last book the title: "Choose to love." We published some unfinished excerpts after his death. Choosing to love: it was the response he himself was trying to give to God’s love.
If I am speaking tonight about Brother Roger, that is because next week, August 16th, we will commemorate the day of his death six years ago. His legacy remains alive. He led us brothers along the path of trust.
In a world where so many things change with a speed never before known, where we are at a loss in the face of natural disasters, violence, and material insecurity that is growing for many, it is essential to choose to trust, to choose to love.
Confronted by injustice and poverty, more and more young people give in either to discouragement or to revolt, and some even to mindless violence. We can never accept violence as a means to change our societies. But we would like to be attentive to situations where young people express their indignation and grasp the underlying reasons for them.
What gives us hope is seeing so much creativity in you, youth of all continents. You have all you need to prepare a future of peace and sharing on earth. Yes, choose to love, choose, by your entire life, to create peace. And we all would like to begin again and again to make that choice, at this very moment.
To persevere in such a commitment, it is essential to remain constantly close to the source, close to the Risen Christ, through whom the love of God has come to us. He is our peace, and he left us the inheritance of a new solidarity among all human beings.
That is why we continue from Taizé the pilgrimage of trust on earth, which Brother Roger began many years ago. And so, at the end of December we will hold our European meeting in Germany, in Berlin.
And next year we will have a meeting in Africa. Among us these days there are young people from Rwanda; they will be the ones who will host our third African meeting, in Kigali in November 2012.
This week, in communion with us, young Africans are together in Algeria, at Tlemcen, and also in Kenya, in Nairobi, where a small group of brothers of our community live. We greet them with all our heart. In a moment we will sing with them some words of the Gospel: "Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo" - for ever I will sing the love of God.
(A child, Théophile, gives out flowers to people from all the countries present.)
The flowers were only distributed to some of you. To commemorate the life of Brother Roger, we would like to offer something to everyone. When you leave the church, each of you will receive a small bookmark with a photo of him and a prayer.
And now, in communion with the young people gathered in Tlemcen in Algeria and in Nairobi, Kenya, we sing "Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo." We turn towards the icon that we have placed in the choir and that comes from Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is the Christ of Sarajevo who is blessing the world.