Meditations by Brother Alois, Turin, July 2022


Thursday 7 July

Tonight it is a great joy to be here in Turin for this new stage of the pilgrimage of trust on earth, a European meeting that is taking place in an unusual season.

Because of the pandemic, our plans have been disrupted. For two years in a row, the European meeting could not take place as we would have wished. So, together with the leaders of the Churches here, we wanted to invite you to come to Turin now, and the presence of young people from Europe is good news that we are very happy about—and a group has even come from Egypt! I would like to greet them especially.

This European meeting was made possible by the invitation of the Churches, by the support of the city and the region, by the commitment of the young volunteers, and of course by the trust of the people who are welcoming you in their homes. To all of you, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Throughout this year, in Taizé and elsewhere, we are reflecting on six proposals for "becoming creators of unity." In all that tears apart our humanity, in the face of the terrible consequences of war and violence, we would like to do everything possible to witness together that we need one another.

European Meeting in Turin | July 2022

Each evening, Brother Alois gave a meditation which is published on this page

Our time is a time of paradoxical realities. On the one hand, humanity is becoming more clearly aware that it is interconnected and linked to all of creation. The pandemic has brought this home to us once again: we are one human family, we undergo certain trials together, and only together can we overcome them.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the call to live as brothers and sisters among humans leads us at the same time to care for creation: we will not be able to live this relationship fully among ourselves if we continue to damage our wonderful planet.

Moreover, polarizations are worsening at the social, political and ethical levels, and are causing new splits in societies, between countries, and even within families. Christians are not spared by these antagonisms. Between the Churches and also within them, differences are hardening and becoming divisions, whereas our witness of unity in diversity would be vital.

In the excerpt from the Letter to the Romans that we heard earlier, the apostle Paul speaks of the Church as a body, in union with Christ. Yes, in the Church, we would like to be united with one another, as parts of the same body. And in this body, unity goes hand in hand with a great diversity of gifts. I will come back to this tomorrow evening.

After this first evening prayer, you will go to your host families or communities. Let us rejoice that doors are opening to welcome us! It is so important, in our societies often marked by growing mistrust, that we have a simple experience of trust.

Friday 8 July

This morning, in the small sharing-groups, you reflected together on the unity of the human family and thought about this question: "Could we reach out more to others, even to those whom we would not spontaneously approach?"

What is true of human relationships, of the social friendship that can exist between apparently very different people, is also very important in the Church. Indeed, we can only transmit the light of Christ together. How can we be credible in speaking of a God of love if we remain separated into different confessions?

Our search for reconciliation is rooted in God’s approach to us, and involves reaching out to one another in an exchange of gifts. Through such an exchange of gifts, we can discover the best that God has deposited in others, and learn to do together all that we can, without doing anything that disregards others.

This becomes possible when we pray together more. To meet together more often in prayer vigils is already a way of letting the Holy Spirit unite us.

I remember, during a visit to China, the very powerful testimony of an 80-year-old Protestant pastor. He had spent 27 years in a labor camp, first imprisoned and then exiled far away. “In that camp,” he told us, “we were together with Christians of other denominations; there were pastors, priests, a bishop.” Then he stood up and said forcefully, “I know that there is only one body of Christ, in him we are united, I have experienced this.” This testimony never leaves me.

Another moment of unity that I would like to tell you about is the young adult meeting that took place this spring in Syria, in the half destroyed city of Homs. 700 young people from all over Syria and from different churches participated. Unfortunately, we brothers were not able to participate, but we joined them in prayer. These young people give us a message of hope: they want to rebuild their country, not only materially, but also by restoring the trust in others that has been damaged. And this testimony of unity takes on great strength.

Yes, it is the communion between us that gives credibility to the Gospel; through this communion, we can become a sign that shines out even in the most difficult situations. Even when violence so often seems to take over, and at a time when our European continent is once again torn apart by war on its soil.

In order to hope for peace to grow among peoples, let us no longer allow the divisions inherited from the past to be perpetuated among us. Let us seek the visible communion of the Church! This is an urgent witness in the midst of the divisions and polarizations of our time.

When we discover that communion with God is an exchange, we understand better that reconciliation is not just one dimension of the Gospel—it is its heart. It is the restoration by Christ of mutual trust between God and humanity. And this transforms human relationships.

Those whom God reconciles to himself, he sends out into the world. Christ makes us ambassadors of reconciliation in the world because Christ wants to reconcile all humanity. Christ asks that "all" be one: this gift is not reserved for a few, it is offered to all who bear the name of Christ, and it is intended for all humans.

Saturday 9 July

Last updated: 7 July 2022