Meditation by Brother Alois

Prayer with the Lakota in South Dakota

Thursday 17 July 2014

Three times a day we all meet together in this Church of Reconciliation. Our diversity is so great. For us brothers, common prayer expresses the heart of our vocation, and it is this prayer above all that we would like to share with you.

Of all the languages in which we sing, there are two new ones this week. One of these languages is Latvian. Next September, we will have a youth meeting in Latvia, in the city of Riga. This meeting will bring together young people from the three Baltic countries, Russia, Ukraine and other countries too.

In recent months, brothers have gone to Ukraine and Russia to express that we want to be close to the Christians of these countries at this time of great tension. We always remember that, everywhere, there are women and men who want peace.

Another language in which we are singing these days and which has rarely been heard in this church is Lakota. It is a great joy to have with us this week a group from South Dakota, including members of an American Indian family named Two Bulls. They belong to the Sioux tribe.

They have come here to return the visit we made to them last year. They had invited us to organize a meeting of young people on their reservation. Five hundred young people came from different parts of the United States and from other countries as well to take part in this meeting.

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On their reservation, to offer accommodation to us brothers, they set up teepees. The young people had pitched their tents on the vast plain at the edge of the badlands. From afar we could see the Black Hills.

You know how much the Native Americans have suffered in the course of history. That they welcomed us as they did is an extraordinary sign of trust for which we are infinitely grateful.

What unites us all, these days, at Taizé? We all, I think, experience the joy of being together in great diversity, and to feel a deep solidarity. In a world where we see so many conflicts, whether armed or not, we are thirsting for peace and reconciliation.

What unites us is not a reconciliation project that we ourselves planned. It is Someone who unites us: Jesus Christ. Yes, let us dare to believe that he is present, living among us, by his Holy Spirit. He gave his life for us to bring us together all across the earth in a single communion. He calls us to be together a sign of his presence, of his peace.

The Church is itself when it radiates the peace of Christ through its life. Here this is more visible because we are many. At home, there are often just a few of you. And yet it is the same presence of Christ. Do not forget that at the foot of Christ on the cross there were only four people—John, one of the apostles, Mary and two other women.

We brothers sometimes also live in small groups buried in the most diverse situations. I think of our brothers living on other continents. In the Northeast of Brazil, for example, where the impressive development of the country does not benefit the very poor. In some areas, such as where they are, drugs and fear of violence prevail.

I also think of our brothers in Bangladesh. Christians are a tiny minority there. This year our Brother Frank died; he started the fraternity there forty years ago. Other brothers are courageously continuing a simple presence in that country. This weekend the Catholic bishop of their city, Mymensingh, will come here. Sunday he will celebrate the Eucharist with us.

When I speak as I am doing tonight of the communion that Christ offers us, I myself feel joy and gratitude at being part of this communion. And sometimes I say that this communion which is the Church is a miracle.

This joy is the opposite of triumphalism. It is rather the joy of following Christ’s call to be "salt of the earth."

Next year, you know, will be a special year for Taizé. We will celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Brother Roger, the tenth anniversary of his death and the seventy-fifth anniversary of the founding of the community.

We shall begin the year by deepening Christ’s call to be "salt of the earth." And already now we can be guided by these words. Sometimes it takes very little, just a little salt, to make life beautiful for those who are entrusted to us. Let us begin with those with whom we live, and then widen our attention to others.

And now I would like to call the Two Bulls family, with the group from South Dakota, to come up here. The meeting at their home brought together Native Americans and whites, and they also came here with a mixed group. Bob, the father, will say a prayer, first in his language, then in English, and it will be translated into other languages.

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