Let us set out towards one another


It is a great joy for us brothers to see you gathered here in our Church of Reconciliation. You know, because of the pandemic, we had to close the welcome in Taizé in mid-March and we were very sad about that. We cannot imagine our community life without hospitality.

But this period of lockdown also allowed us to live a kind of community sabbatical and to think about the essentials. In a way, our life as brothers was renewed by this period when we were among ourselves without having planned it ahead of time.

The ordeal that our world is going through has also led us to ask ourselves: faced with the immense challenges of the moment, what changes should we make in our way of life? For example, we have lately been having a great reflection, in community, on the ecological transition to which we are all called.

Another unexpected fruit of this recent period concerns what is possible thanks to means of communication. At the very beginning of the lockdown, we started transmitting the prayer online and we continue to this day. It allowed us to be in fellowship with people all over the world while our church was closed.

And other initiatives have arisen. For example, this weekend, 300 young people from more than fifty countries are taking part in an online meeting. I greet them because they are listening to us right now.

As part of this online program, this afternoon, young people from five continents shared recent experiences of solidarity in their countries. With them, I would like us to reflect all together: in the very serious difficulties of the moment, how can we also discern the signs of hope?

For this year 2020, we planned to think about the theme: “Always on the move, never uprooted.” We didn’t know, then, that half of humanity would be confined a few months later...unable to get anywhere.

However, this theme remains very relevant. Always on the move: this does not mean living in a kind of permanent instability. We need to keep deep roots, an inner anchor more stable than the shifting realities of our existence.

Sometimes we can feel very helpless in the face of suffering. And faced with the uncertainties of the future, some young people are even overcome by an almost existential anxiety.

In these moments of doubt or anguish, let us dare to remember that prayer is a way which is always open. What does it change to entrust to God another person or a trial we are undergoing? Fortunately, we cannot measure God’s answer to our prayers. God far exceeds our immediate expectations and calculations.

But one thing is certain: by entrusting everything to God, we enter into a deep solidarity with our neighbor, we unite with the solidarity of Christ himself, who suffers today with those who are going through trials. Yes, prayer sets us on the road; it makes us responsible for others and for ourselves.

This month of August, for us brothers, we give thanks to God for the life of Brother Roger, who arrived in Taizé 80 years ago. It was the beginning of a foundation that would continue for years, in successive stages.

Brother Roger came to Taizé alone at the age of 25. It was the beginning of World War II. Faced with violence and the denial of humanity, what could he do? He did not have the means to stop the barbarism. But, even all alone, he was able to welcome people in difficulty. And above all, he made the decision to already prepare for peace.

In 1980, he spoke to young people with these words: “Even by twos or threes, set out towards one another, make a pilgrimage to a place of prayer where you can pray together, with or without words. Dare to make these pilgrimages not only towards those who are like you, but also towards those who have other options.”

And he continued: “Young people understand that, in order to follow Christ, they are called to struggle, not with the weapons of power, but with a reconciled heart. They seek to share. Their hope is that the majority of Christians, refusing to take the easy way out by making use of great material and financial resources, will participate in the preparation of an earth where all are at home. Many young people are capable of great selflessness in getting involved where the situations are most urgent, for reconciliation and world peace.”

These words seem very relevant to me. Yes, in our world where so much is changing with unprecedented speed, where we are disconcerted in the face of violence, in the face of material insecurity that is growing for many, in the face of the climate emergency, young people are choosing to “be witnesses to hope and creators of reconciliation.”

I would like to extend an invitation to you again. At the end of the year, if the situation allows it, we will have a new stage of the “pilgrimage of trust”: a European meeting in Taizé, from December 27 to January 1, 2021, which will bring together young people from all over the world through online initiatives.

In these times of trial, let us rely on the presence of the Holy Spirit, who will give us courage. Yes, the Spirit allows us leave fear behind and enter into trust. And we will receive the inventiveness necessary to advance in front of the world afterwards, always staying on the move, never uprooted.

Last updated: 14 September 2020