Each time we leave Taizé, we always remain amazed, we brothers, when we return, to find the church so full, as it is these days of the feast of the Ascension.
Several of my brothers and I were in Rome this week where the general assembly of Caritas International was meeting, with delegates from 138 countries across the world. They had asked us to prepare a prayer every day like the one we are celebrating here in Taizé.
We took part in their reflection and their discussions. With them we rejoiced that Pope Francis invites us all to be a Church which is poor for the poor. When we share, God gives us the joy of living.
Each one of them gives their energies, in their various countries, to express solidarity with the poor. It was impressive to see such committed people from all over the world. We heard powerful testimonies from Nepal, Palestine, South Sudan and many other countries.
One of the speeches that struck me was that of a woman from Syria, Dana. She insisted that material support is important in that situation, which seems so hopeless, but she also stressed the importance of solidarity lived in our heart.
You may know that a week ago here in Taizé we launched an action to offer aid to a refugee camp in Jordan where thousands of Syrians await a future. Those who wish can support it with a donation. And we will also send two young people to live a year in that camp in order to provide help. Person-to-person encounters are irreplaceable.
We never want to forget that Christ came for all people without exception. He revealed God’s love for the little ones, for those who do not count in human eyes—the poor, the excluded, the forgotten. In the poor God is waiting for us; in their eyes it is God who is looking at us.
With the members of Caritas, we also remembered that all that exists comes from God. He sent the Holy Spirit into the world to fill it with his breath. When Christ extended his arms on the cross to the entire universe, he brought together all creation in his love.
God has entrusted to us this creation which, wounded by human hands, is yearning for healing. He wants us to take part generously in safeguarding what he has created, so that the face of the earth may be renewed.
Last Sunday, some of you are just arrived at Taizé for the prayer that we celebrated to mark the centenary of Brother Roger’s birth. We wanted the first celebration of this anniversary year to be held with those who live in the greater region around Taizé, not only young people but also families, children and the elderly.
During this month of May, we are in communion with many young people who are also meeting for a time of praise on the occasion of this centenary. On our website there is an impressive world map showing the locations of these prayers, on every continent.
Everywhere, along with the prayer, these young people are undertaking acts of solidarity, in the spirit of Brother Roger who never separated the search for God and human solidarity.
Here too, three opportunities to show solidarity were suggested to the people of the local region around Taizé: I just spoke about the refugee camp in Jordan, and we also have begun to collect medicines for the population of Cuba (this will last until August), and we are supporting a meeting of children to be held locally, in June in a nearby village.
I will conclude by saying a word about the feast of these days. At the time of the Ascension, Christ enables us to understand that he never leaves us alone, “I am with you always, until the end of time,” he said to his disciples. His Holy Spirit will remain with us forever. And his presence opens us to joy and to the spirit of praise.
Most of you will leave tomorrow. Just as he sent his disciples, he calls us, he calls each one of you, to communicate a mystery of hope around us, by becoming witnesses to solidarity and peace.
God always wants to revive in us again and again the confidence that he will bring together all human beings into one family. May this hope of the Gospel spread out to all humanity!
Ascension, Stained Glass Window by Brother Eric