Many of us brothers have just returned from various visits we made this spring. Some went to Ukraine, another to Russia. In serious conflict that is taking place at this time, there is in both countries women and men who want peace.
I myself, with other brothers, was in Mexico for a beautiful gathering of 2000 young people from different countries. In particular, we had a prayer vigil in the sanctuary of the Virgin of Guadalupe, where several thousand people from the city joined us.
Taizé brothers will also leave for Brazil and Bangladesh, where they live close to the poorest.
Here in Taizé each year, on the feast of the Ascension, we are astonished to see our Church of Reconciliation so full. There are so many of you; it is a real springtime festival. So we brothers ask ourselves: why do you come? What are you looking for?
When I put the question to one or the other of you, I realize that the answers are very different. Some say: to meet other young people. Others: silence. Others: common prayer with songs that last all evening. And I still get all sorts of other answers.
All of these replies, in their diversity, have something in common: they all contain a search of hope, to look at the future with joy and not in fear.
We brothers also find ourselves on the journey with you and in the welcome we try to offer you there is a hope that stimulates us, especially when we see that beyond the stay here you want to build your life on trust in God.
The source of hope is not in us. We are not the ones who produce it. So how can we receive hope? The feast we have been celebrating since Thursday can open in us the source of hope. But what does the Ascension mean, that moment when Christ ascended to heaven?
Using the language of images, the Bible means: that death is not the last word. Jesus died but he is also risen, and he carries with he all those he loves, all humankind. With him our humanity is welcomed in God.
Yes, Christ, even invisibly, is close to each of us. What worries us about ourselves, he bears. He takes our faults upon himself. He loves each one of us passionately. And he opens the way for us to be with God forever. Christ awaits us.
If all of us, each and every one of us, could welcome again these days this trust in Christ’s love.
Disasters and threats to the planet and to humanity, however real they may be, are not the ultimate truth. Our humanity has a future beyond the limits that seem insurmountable, beyond suffering and death. And in our prayer, even when it is very poor, we are already linked to that beyond.
This is not a theory; it is a reality. This is the meaning of the feast we are celebrating these days. To enter this feast, to taste the joy and hope it engenders, we cannot content ourselves with words or ideas. But we must ask ourselves: what can I change in my daily life, in order to be consistent with this trust that God is love?
When we try to answer this question in our lives every day, regardless of the situation in which we find ourselves, a dynamism awakens, a wellspring flows in us.
Tonight we welcomed a new brother in our community; hecomes from China. It is a huge joy for us. He decided to trust in Christ at the center of his life. Of course, trust does not always mean feeling God’s love, but living it through our community life.
For us brothers, the important thing is not to be good organizers of youth meetings. The key is first to be brothers to each other, to realize the goodness of Jesus Christ among us. Our great diversity means that community life is demanding, but at the same time it offers a lot of beauty.
When you go back home, I would encourage you too to take a decision: how can you live out the goodness of Christ at home in your own situation, beginning with your family and friends? We always have to begin again without getting discouraged.
The goodness of Christ impels us to go towards those who suffer, to the excluded. Make visits to come into contact with precarious situations perhaps very close to you. This nourishes a lot our trust in God. And then we can better understand the words of Christ: "I am with you always, until the end of time."
The Ascension, stained-glass by Brother Eric of Taizé