I first went to Taize in 1962 as a newly ordained priest and a student at Fribourg University in Switzerland. As a monk and as someone very interested in ecumenism, I was anxious to know what an ecumenical monastery was like. At that time, there were no Catholic members oif the Taize Community. The Church of the Reconciliation had not yet been built, and the community was using the village church as their place of prayer. I was asked to bless the holy water in the stoops at the entrance, because this church, built by the monks of Cluny, six kilometres away, was the Catholic church belonging to Taize, a village deserted by its inhabitants after World War II. The Bishop had lent it to them. I was given a room in the noviciate, a house in the village that had been taken over for that purpose. Every morning, I celebrated Mass at the high altar, with a monk who was a Lutheran pastor of the Hamburg or Frankfurt "Landeskirche". What Taize gave me was a vision which has never left me, a perspective in which I could discern the Holy Spirit at work in all kinds of situations, indeed in all situations in which he is not excluded, a context in which I could be attached to Catholic teaching while being all inclusive at the same time. Brother Roger held out to all the possibility of being orthodox without being sectarian, of adhering to the Truth while remaining humble in the presence of those who doubt or deny it, because Christ works in and through them and can speak through them to us: God does not have favourites and loves them as much as he loves us. We are all equally sons and daughters of God; and Christ died for all; Mass is offered for all; we must pray for all; and, above all, we must love all. Only then does our love mirror the Love of God: DOMINUS SPIRITUS EST. I have been back several times to Taize, the last time in the seventies with a couple of schoolboys from Belmont Abbey School, only a few years before going to Peru. However, I have never forgotten Taize and want to share this vision with you. Thanks to the Taize website (click), this is possible. I shall do this is in two posts. - Fr David
share this vision with you.