Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pondering Pages/Brother Roger-Taize'

Joining with Lara at Holy Mothering in a weekly book review.

I have been expanding my horizons a bit and learning about Taize' in the past few weeks. I had attended a Taize' prayer service at my parish last spring and loved it! The church was dark except for multiple candles, there were icons everywhere and the service itself was a combination of chants, scripture readings and lovely silence. I can't wait to go to another Taize' service! In the meantime, I have been conversing with my friend from La Vie Graphite who is knowledgeable in Taize' and have been reading a few books written by Brother Roger Schutz who began the movement of Christian unity in the 1940's. Taize' is a village in France in which this prayer form originated. In my quest for knowledge, I have read two short and easy to read books by Brother Roger during this past week.

Seeking the Heart of God was co-written by Brother Roger and Mother Teresa. It is a beautiful little book of side by side reflections on the same topics. Some beautiful quotes from this book:

"Self-knowledge puts us on our knees." Mother Teresa

"Christ offers himself in the Eucharist, adorable presence, it is there for you who are destitute. It is received in a spirit of poverty and repentance of heart, with the soul of a child, until the very evening of your years...In remaining before the Eucharist for long periods of time, many people have let themselves be penetrated down to the very depths of their being. For all who consent to a long process of maturation, little by little their inner self is built up, without their knowing how. And by prayer that is always simple, they are somehow drawn toward Christ." Brother Roger

And from Unity: Man's Tomorrow by Brother Roger...

"Always we must learn to see the Christian we meet with the eyes of Christ, to reflect on the best God has given to the other man-for is that not Christ himself? This gaze prepares us to respect and to love the catholic brother and at the same time to discover in him the unsuspected riches that God himself has given."

"We have to look at ourselves in the light of Christ. Rather than allowing ourselves to stop because there is something bad in us, inabilities, darkness, shadows-there always will be such things-we must know how to put down all this burden by making use of confession, and having received absolution, we live by it immediately."

Finally, I was struck by the fact that this little gem of a book had not been taken off of the library shelf and checked out to a reader in many, many years. So I had to write a little reflection about that:

Words of the Brother

Curious seeker opens the book
that had remained on the shelves for over forty years-
February 7, 1964-
last date stamped inside the back cover.

Within the pages, treasures of wisdom step out to new life.
Tired, worn eyes begin to glimmer with light,
heart begins to burn a little stronger.

Forgotten words beckon to the child inside,
the child who is eager for
knowledge of yesterdays
that can lead to a peace-filled tomorrow.

(For more check out The Dreamer's Day to read about Squelly's recent experience in Taize'.)


  1. I love Taize! I went a long time ago at the Shrine led by Father Pat. I have wonderful memories. They don't have them anymore but I do recommend them.

    The quotes are beautiful.

    Have a blessed day my friend!

  2. I've never heard of of Taize'--I'll let you know if the book in our library has seen the light of day since the 60's!

    You have such a beautiful style of writing--and you inspire in me a desire to see "the distressing faces of Christ" in your stories of working at WIC.

    I've given you an award at:

  3. Sorry--it's early--I see that you already got your award from my page!! :)

  4. Your readers would get a lot out of the monastery's web site:


    There are numerous well-written essays from the Brothers, Scripture readings, sheet music and mp3 files, recorded liturgies from the monastery, and many photos.
    And in many different languages.

  5. I have heard of Taize but that's it. As far as I know they have never had this in our area. Now I'm curious, I am going to go to the site Speculator mentioned! Have a good day [night?],

  6. Anne,
    Thanks for sharing more about Taize. I went on the site that was part of your music link to them a few days ago. The music is beautiful and so are the prayers; looking forward to reading some of the writings one of your other commenters mentioned.

  7. Hi Anne -

    I am somewhat familiar with Taize. I have read about Brother Roger. I believe that, although Brother Roger was not a Catholic, Pope Benedict XVI gave him Holy Communion at JPII's funeral Mass.I think Brother Roger was getting ready to bring his group into the Catholic Church. That may have been the reason. I really don't know.

    I have said this before, but in my humble opinion, all Catholics should have a Spiritual Director. Someone to speak to before atending any prayer service that is not specifically "C"atholic.

    The most important thing is to "know your faith." Then you will know what is right, and what is wrong.

    God bless you Anne !!!!

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  9. Brian, I hesitated to respond to this because you seem to have your mind pretty made up about Taize' and how it pertains to the Catholic faith. But, if I don't respond, I will forever live with the guilt of not standing up for something that I firmly believe in.

    I am a lifelong Catholic, I am very knowledgeable about the faith. I am loyal and true to the Magisterium of the Church. I also have been in Spiritual Direction for the past 3 years. I consider myself very fortunate to have a wonderful spiritual director. There are many people who would love to be in Spiritual Direction, but directors can be hard to find!

    Taize' is an ecumenical Christian group-it is for all Christians, including Catholics. There is nothing about it that is not acceptable in Catholicism. We are all God's children. Catholics do not have a corner on God's love.

    I am sure that Pope Benedict knew what he was doing when he gave Brother Roger communion. We all know that the Catholic church does not allow non-Catholics to receive Communion, so why he did this, I don't know. Maybe you could write to the Pope and ask him.

    Brian, I believe you to be a very caring soul. I thank you for all of your kind comments and for the wonderful work that you are doing in your ministry. I am praying for you and I ask that you pray for me as well. Pax Christi!

  10. Dear Anne -

    "I am so sorry"! My words are only out of kindness. You are well formed in the faith. Some people are not. I worry about them.
    Taize must be a wonderful experience - I would be willing to try it myself. It is not "Taize" I worry about. We have had some experiences in my own parish regarding "inter-faith services" that make me sometimes "too skeptical."

    You are so correct - Catholics do not have a corner on God's love. I do ministry work with friends of all faiths - Hindu, Jew, Protestant, Muslim. We are all God's children -made in his very image. In Mother Teresa's missions there are volunteers of all faiths. That is what makes it so much fun!

    Again - I apologize. I will always keep you in my prayers. My classes begin in September - my blogging will surely quiet down - maybe that's for the best.