From Taize: Two Commitments to Live Intensely

A great meditation from Brother Alois at Taize:
Here at Taizé we want to go together to the wellsprings of faith. We too, the brothers, have to make this journey every day. Even though, when we entered the community, we committed ourselves to follow Christ, to share everything, and to pray together three times a day, still, day after day, we too must strive to regain trust in God.

Setting out over and over again on the road from worry towards trusting in God may involve an inner struggle. It is important in particular not to get caught up in inner fear, bitterness and hopelessness.

But, curiously, this inner struggle also awakens creative energies in us. It awakens our heart; it makes us become alert to do away with anything that might alienate us. It restores us to ourselves; it does not allow us to settle for mediocrity and, above all, it leads us to live intensely.

Living intensely, that is what we would all like to do. And yet, what obstacles we encounter in this attempt!

We live at an exciting time of history. The world is changing completely. Being able to connect at any time to communication and information networks allows our societies to make huge advances.

At the same time, we are beginning to sense the other side of this development. Sometimes there is an excess of communication. Connecting can be a pastime that, without our realizing it, causes us to live on the surface of things, or it can even become an escape from reality.

In Chicago, where we had a young adult meeting in May, some young people told us that they no longer answered phone calls, simply because they received too many of them.

During this week in Taizé, some of you are experiencing that being less connected does not mean living less intensely. On the contrary, we can sense a greater joy and freedom when we take the time to stay close to what really matters. And we can certainly then better deal with the difficulties and trials of life.

It seems to me that in order to live intensely, we can make two commitments. The first: every morning renewing our trust in God. Welcoming the life he gives us. Reminding ourselves that Christ himself trusts us, that he looks at each and every one of us with love, that his presence is stronger than evil, and even deeper than our suffering.

Another commitment in order to live intensely can be this one: being attentive to those we meet. Awakening in ourselves a sensitivity to the beauty of creation can help us in this. In every encounter there is a call addressed to us. It is important to discern, behind the words and actions, what the others are calling us to.

I think of two people who are living out these two commitments. Last week an elderly woman, 95 years old, was here. She is the aunt of one of our brothers, and we call her Auntie Joan. From an evangelical background, she constantly thinks about Jesus, of all he has done for humanity. At the same time, this woman has both feet on the ground.

As a girl she left her country, England, to become a missionary. In 1945 she went to live in the mountains of China. In 1951 she was expelled. Auntie Joan s story is too long to tell. But I want especially to emphasize that trust in God is part of her deepest being, and it enables her to look at others with love.

The other example I would like to mention is that of a family near Paris who is here this week. In the pharmacy that the parents have, immigrants from Romania came for medicine. The mother understood that they were cold in their shacks. So, with friends, they brought blankets to the immigrants. They even welcomed them into their home and the son, a young teenager, gave them his room. Relationships of deep friendship were formed. These immigrants had to be helped to regularize their situation, and this was able to be done for 52 people in the town.

Living intensely. God wants nothing else for us all. Jesus clearly says in the Gospel: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. This life to the full that God offers us does not begin only after we have solved all our problems. No, we can already discover it at the heart of these difficulties, even today.

Editor Emeritus - Jack Regan

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