The Bible is the story of God’s faithfulness

Thursday August 31

We have a beautiful summer behind us. The day before yesterday evening a few young people from Lebanon came to say goodbye. And I wondered: do they know how valuable their stay of three months with us was? They bring us closer to the Middle East and transmit their thirst for peace.

Several young Arab Christians are still here. We like to sing with them in Arabic our song "Ubi caritas et amor Deus ibi est". Where love is, there is God. Many young people from other countries discover through this song that in Arabic God is called "Allah", whether you are Christian or Muslim.

Yesterday two young Lebanese Muslims, Ali and Mohamad, who had spent a month on the hill, also left us. They were sent by a group in Lebanon seeking to bring Muslims and Christians closer. How wonderful it was to have them with us!

We would like to be closer and closer to young Arab Christians. At the end of September, we will go to Egypt with some brothers and a hundred young Europeans and Middle-Easterners, to spend a few days sharing and praying with a hundred young Egyptians. In a few minutes, Roy, a Lebanese Catholic, will speak to us and then sing an Arabic song, accompanied by Michel, another Lebanese, and by Youssef, an Orthodox Copt from Egypt.

Throughout this summer, as during this week, every day the young people who come to the meetings listened to a reflection given by one of my brothers on a text of the Bible. Why give so much importance to these bible introductions?

This is because it is fundamental for everyone to ask themselves: in what source do I root my life? From what source do I draw the deepest meaning of my existence? To go to the most essential source, in other words to open the doors of our heart to the presence of God, the Bible is a priceless treasure.

It is not always easy to read the Bible, it is true. Sometimes there are texts that we do not understand. This is also the case for us brothers. To make the Bible easier to read, it is important to remember two ways of access that I would like to suggest.

The first: it is necessary to highlight what is at the heart of the Bible, love of God and love of neighbor. The Bible is the story of God’s faithfulness. It begins with the freshness of a first love, then comes the obstacles and even the human infidelities. But God is not tired of loving, he always goes looking for his people; he always seeks each and every one of us.

In fact, the Bible is the story of God’s faithfulness that one of the prophets recalls with impressive words. God said to each one of us: "Does a woman forget her little child? Even if there was one who forgot, I will not forget you.” (Isaiah 49:15)

The other way of accessing the Bible is this: the Gospel tells us that Christ himself is the Word of God. When we read the Scriptures we encounter him, Christ; we listen to his voice; we can enter into a personal relationship with him.

Even though we understand little of the gospel, it is possible to try and understand more from a few words that may suddenly become important to us.

Leaving Taizé at the end of this week, even if you have retained only a few words, it is by putting those words into practice that you will understand better and gain access to other words of the Gospel.

Tomorrow our prayer will have a special content. Two years ago, Pope Francis instituted what he called a "world day of prayer for the care of creation" and this day is celebrated every year on September 1st.

In instituting this day for the Catholic Church, the Pope replied to a suggestion made to him by the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew, because this day of prayer was already taking place in the Orthodox Church. Thus, with one heart, the Pope and the Patriarch, in communion with similar initiatives by the World Council of Churches, are calling on all believers, and more generally all human beings, to be caretakers of creation.

Tomorrow we will praise God for the beauty of the earth that is his and that humans are called to receive as a gift, as their common home. We will remember the enormous responsibility of humankind to take care of the planet, not to waste resources. And everyone can ask themselves what this means in their own daily lives.

Roy: Good evening, My name is Roy, I come from Beirut, Lebanon. I am a student of economics at Saint Joseph University of Beirut. I have been in Taizé with other young people from the Middle East for almost two months now. I have spent the best moments of my life here in this wonderful community.

I am from the Greek Melkite Catholic Church, which derives its origin from the Greek Orthodox Church. I loved here in Taizé to be able to share with others the great beauty of the songs of our liturgy. So now, with two of my friends, we want to pray with you by taking a song from the Byzantine liturgy. It is a song dedicated to the Virgin Mary, composed by a saint of Mount Athos.

Jouana: There are flowers for those from Japan, China, Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia, East Timor, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Israel.

For those from South Africa, Kenya, Chad, Burkina Faso, Benin, Ivory Coast, Togo, Senegal, Sudan, Eritrea, Egypt and Madagascar.

For those from Russia, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark.

For those from Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Britain and Ireland.

For those from Ukraine, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Switzerland and France.

For those from Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Malta, Spain and Portugal.

For those from Australia, the United States and Canada.

For those from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti and Mexico.


Last updated: 1 September 2017


[1Picture: Cédric Nisi