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Encounter of young religious in Taizé

16/09/2015: France - Photo gallery

As part of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Brother Roger and of the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the community of Taizé, and also coinciding with the Year of Consecrated Life, the Brothers of this community organized a week of reflection on the present situation of religious and monastic vocation, to which young religious of different congregations, monasteries and communities were invited, Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants.  Then, from the 5th to 12th of July approximately 350 young persons, committed with religious and monastic life, from 52 countries met in Taizé.  Three of them were Marist Brothers: Brothers Fábio and Rui from the Province Compostela and Brother Lucas from the Province Brazil Centro-Sul.  

Among the speakers of this week of the encounter were Brother Alois, Prior of Taizé, Anba Thomas, Copt Orthodox Bishop from Egypt, the Abbess of an Orthodox monastery in Greece, Orthodox Archimandrites from Russia, Ukraine and Byelorussia, the Abbot of an Orthodox monastery in Serbia, several brothers and sisters of Protestant religious communities from Switzerland, Germany, France and England, the former Prior general of the Carthusians and the Superiors general of the Jesuits, of the Little Sisters of Jesus, of the Dominicans, of the Missionaries of Africa and of the Franciscans.  

As Brother Richard, Brother of Taizé pointed out so well, at the end of the week, “we expected that this week would be a good occasion of encounter and sharing. But I think that we have also experienced something beyond our expectations. We have heard unexpected things. We have met with people that we did not expect to meet and we have known brothers and sisters whom we did not even know that they existed”.

No doubt, this was a great gift to be able to participate in this family encounter, and besides to do it in such a special context as that of Taizé, where besides the participants in the week of reflection on religious life there were other hundreds of other young persons from practically the whole world making the experience of life in community and prayer on “the hill”.  From everything experienced and heard during these days, we share that which touched us intensely in a particular way, whether as a gift or as a call. 

  • Joy, simplicity, mercy, these three words on which Brother Roger of Taizé, insisted so much and which can very well be three pillars on which to construct our life.  We have accepted them as an ideal and it is easy to read them in the lives of many Marists.    
  • The urgency to be witnesses of communion in our world fragmented so many times and the call to religious life to create bonds of union among the Churches.  Reconciliation  
  • The need and the beauty to be flexible. The one who seeks security loses the capacity of flexibility (Brother Alois). We have to enter into the dynamic of the provisional
  • Prayer in the center, as the source of our life, as the place of rest, marking the rhythm of our days and of our journey.  Like in Taizé, where the Church of the reconciliation occupies the center of the life on the hill. 
  • The challenge of plurality, of internationality, of every inter-. And an illuminating suggestion for what we are already living as Institute: many times it is necessary to renounce to understand in order to be able to accept. 
  • Vitality (the present and the future) of religious life is in recognizing and participating in the humility of God,  in living in interdependence, mutually accompanying one another in community and in being in the margins, in the material, spiritual, political, social and religious peripheries  (Michael Perry, ofm)
  • The certainty that we can find the codes and keys for our journey in simplicity and in the freshness of the Gospel of the grace.  

After all, as Brother Richard underlined after the encounter, it is not a question of drawing conclusions, but of opening ourselves to the road that we have before us. We did not return from Taizé with infallible recipes to live as religious in our present  moment nor with systematic plans of how to do it in the future.  What we did bring is an enormous gratitude for this time of grace and for the gift of fraternity (that breaks down cultural and confessional barriers), and with the renewed desire to live as Marists religious who inherit a passionate history and journey “beginning after beginning always ceaselessly beginning” (Saint Gregory of Nice) 

Your brothers Fábio and Rui
In the photo: Brothers Fábio (Portugal), Lucas (Brasil) and Rui (Portugal)

____________________

The texts of some of the talks, as well as some photos of the encounter may be consulted in the following link:  http://www.taize.fr/es_article19332.html

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