Br. Roger of Taize – Rest in Peace

When I was young, at a time when Europe was torn apart by so many conflicts, I kept on asking myself: Why all these confrontations?  Why do so many people, even Christians, condemn one another out of hand?  And I wondered:  is there, on this earth, a way of reaching complete understanding of others?  Then came a day – I can still remember the date, and I could describe the place:  the subdued light of a late summer evening, darkness settling over the countryside — a day when I made a decision.  I said to myself, if this way does exist, begin with yourself and resolve to understand every person fully.  That day, I was certain the vow I had made was for life.  It involved nothing less than returning again and again, my whole life long, to this irrevocable decision:  seek to understand all, rather than to be understood.

Br. Roger of Taize 1915-2005
On August 16, during a prayer service at Taize,
Brother Roger is fatally wounded by a mentally unbalanced assailant.
  He dies at the age of ninety.

Patriarch Athenagoras

This day, Patriarch Athenagoras enters the life of eternity.  With him we lose a man of the same prophetic vein as John XXIII.  He had no lack of trials in his final years…  Nevertheless, he was always optimistic.  “In the evening, when I retire to my room,” he told me once, “I close the door on all my cares, and I say:  Tomorrow!”

Br. Roger of Taize, written July 7, 1972

Advent waiting

A brother brings into my room a reproduction of one of the most ancient pictures in the catacombs:  a man praying with both hands raised.  This gesture comes down to us from the dawn of time, from humankind’s first beginnings.  A symbol of expectant waiting.  Looking at it, I tell myself:  like every Christian, you are first and foremost a man who waits expectantly, and prayer is one of the clearest symbols of this.

Br. Roger of Taize