My life has been pretty darn busy these last few weeks but last night I got the opportunity to attend Taizé prayer here on campus. It was just what I needed! I’ve been participating in Taizé prayer for a couple of years now and have been lucky enough to find a community on every campus I have studied on.
Taizé prayer uses simple songs, usually derived from lines of scripture and often sung in canon. Icons are also used to contribute to the beauty of the worship.
This prayer gets its name from the Taizé Community in Saône-et-Loire, France. The Taizé Community is an ecumenical monastic order composed of about 100 brothers from around the world who come from Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic traditions. They have a strong devotion to peace and justice through prayer and meditation.
More than 100,000 young people make pilgrimages to Taizé every year. Blessed Pope John Paul II also visited the Taizé Community on multiple occasions, first as a young Archbishop as well as years later during his pontificate. After becoming Pope he welcomed Brother Roger, founder of the Taizé Community, in private audience every year.
During a visit in 1986 he spoke to the young pilgrims in Taizé. The following is an excerpt from his message:
“[The brothers] want, in prayer and silence, to enable you to drink the living water promised by Christ, to know his joy, to discern his presence, to respond to his call, then to set out again to witness to his love and to serve your brothers and sisters in your parishes, your schools, your universities, and in all your places of work.
Today in all the Churches and Christian communities, and even among the highest political leaders in the world, the Taizé Community is known for the trust always full of hope that it places in the young. It is above all because I share this trust and this hope that I have come here this morning.
Dear young people, to bring to the world the joyful news of the Gospel, the Church needs your enthusiasm and your generosity. You know, it can happen that your elders, after the difficult journey and the trials they have undergone, fall prey to fear or weariness and let the dynamism which is a mark of every Christian vocation grow weak. It can also happen that institutions, because of routine or the deficiencies of their members, are not sufficiently at the service of the Gospel message. Because of this, the Church needs the witness of your hope and your zeal in order to fulfil her mission better.
Do not be content to criticize passively or to wait for persons or institutions to become better. Go towards the parishes, the student organizations, the different movements and communities, and patiently bring them the force of your youth and the talents you have received…”
Interested in learning more about this beautiful form of prayer and meditation? Taizé prayer is animated by numerous pastoral teams across Canada and a quick Google search should help you find a location near you.