Notes for "Choose to Love"

1 In May 1995, a meeting of young adults in South Africa made it possible to understand better the beautiful hope which is arising in that country. Even with very little, women, men and young people in South Africa can already accomplish more than they ever thought they could for justice and equality.

2 Beginning in about the 1970s, a breakdown of spiritual values began to occur in the Western world and a void was created. A void can be filled up with many different things, even the strangest ideas. In those years, social upheavals were sometimes so violent that they wounded the consciousness of some Christians. So many final judgements were passed, so much harshness expressed. This pressure even caused some people to stop believing in the worth of the life they had been living up to that point. At that time we said in Taizé: it is not for Christians to be "masters of worry"; they are "servants of trust." And so the idea of undertaking a "pilgrimage of trust on earth" was born.

3 See Matthew 25,40.

4 Hermas, second century.

5 See John 14,16 and 16,7.

6 See Hebrews 13,8 and Matthew 28,20.

7 See Galatians 2,20 and Colossians 3,3-4.

8 For a person devoid of instruction as well as for the most cultivated one, faith remains a humble trust in Christ, in the Holy Spirit. The call of the Gospel is received first and foremost in the heart, in other words in the deepest part of our being.

9 Doubt can arise in anybody's life. But there is nothing alarming about doubt. Even when Jesus was on earth, some of those closest to him doubted. A believer said to him, "I believe...," in other words "I trust you," but then immediately added these words: "Come and help my unbelief" (Mark 9,24).

10 Mark 10,21.

11 See Luke 9,62.

12 See Ephesians 5,19-20.

13 In order to pray, sometimes just a single word or a few words are enough. Some Eastern Christians are very attached to the prayer of the Name of Jesus; there are people who express the fullness of a communion simply by repeating the name Jesus again and again. There are short prayers, sung many times over, which are able to dispel dark clouds: "Jesus your light is shining within us; let not my doubts and my darkness speak to me; let my heart always welcome your love" (adapted from a prayer written by Saint Augustine in about the year 400). Some people constantly repeat this age-old prayer: "Let nothing trouble you; God alone suffices." Or they pray to Christ: "In you peace of heart!" Some pray on their knees, others fold their hands or lift them up, or pray with their foreheads to the ground, like the disciples at the end of Luke's Gospel (see Luke 24,52).

14 Romans 8,26

15 See Luke 9,29

16 See Hebrews 5,7. At the end of his life, Jesus let a prayer of confident trust rise to his lips, a prayer that we too can repeat: "Into your hands I commit my spirit" (Luke 23,46), in other words: "Into your hands I entrust my entire life."

17 See Philippians 4,6-7 and 1 Peter 5,7.

18 So many people on earth radiate the holiness of Christ without realizing it and perhaps without even daring to believe it.

19 When the young are able to join in the celebrations of a local Christian community, a parish, they renew hope in the older generations. Many people are looking for parish communities to be places of prayer where the mystery of God is immediately perceptible and not smothered by too many words. Would it be possible to prepare a prayer in a church, for example on at least two Friday evenings a month, a prayer that is simple but characterized by the beauty of singing ? A space of silence in the middle of the prayer opens the way to a communion with Christ and the Holy Spirit (one period of silence is enough; too many become tedious). In secularized societies, it is good too for our homes to give people a glimpse of an invisible presence by a few symbols of Christ. In one room we can set up a corner for prayer, however small it may be, with an icon, a candle...

20 A seventeen-year-old boy wrote to Taizé one day : "Before the age of 13 or 14, I never had the opportunity to ask myself questions about faith. Today, I am searching. I tried to read the Bible, but I found it hard to understand. Two or three times I took part in a Eucharist and I was more moved than I had ever been in my entire life. I felt I had been touched by God's grace. I started to believe from that moment on and, one day, I felt the need to speak with someone who could help me to understand the faith."

21 Simplicity, whether in the life of the Church or in our personal lives, is never an ice-cold austerity; it never entails glumness. The spirit of simplicity shines out in serene joy, in cheerfulness of heart. Simplifying invites us to arrange what little we have with harmony.

22 If those called to speak about the Gospel or to pray aloud in front of others could say to themselves: "May your prayer and your words never contain a threat in the name of God!" God is love. He does not make use of fear to impose himself upon human beings. Even when Christ was mistreated, he did not threaten anyone (see 1 Peter 2,23).

23 Some of the young are increasingly attentive to prayer and to the wellsprings of the faith. Many aspire to an inner unity and to peace of heart. They are eager to participate with others in a prayer where a contemplative dimension is not lacking.

24 For some young people, the choice to take part in the life of a parish or congregation is not self-evident. That is why it is essential for them to be given challenging responsibilities to communicate Christ to others, and for their elders to take this collaboration seriously.

25 A Gospel freshness is incompatible with polemics that leave behind a taste of bitterness and self-righteousness.

26 Experiencing an inner emptiness, some people wonder: "But where is God?" (Psalm 42,3). And yet, does not the Risen Christ remain alongside every person, even those who are unaware of him (see 1 Peter 3,18-20)? Is not every human being visited by the Spirit of God (see Joel 3,1)?

27 Many would like to prepare themselves to assume responsibilities with a view to taking part in the building up of a Europe which is peaceful and reconciled, where tolerance is held in high esteem. Those who commit all their energies to fostering reconciliation are opening up incalculable perspectives for the future of the European family. And since young people from other continents come to Taizé, too, they ask the same question regarding the places where they live.

28 They are not necessarily indifferent to the future of the human family. Many of them are affected by the suffering of people nearby or far away. But in their eyes, to try and make society better would mean risking disillusionment right from the start, so they feel that it is better not to try, and prefer instead to remain uninvolved.

29 At this period in history, many young believers are aware that faith does not turn them into people who are irresponsible. They are trying to make the earth a better place, among other things through humanitarian initiatives, by taking on responsibilities that may be very simple but are quite down-to-earth. There is an unprecedented awakening of the Christian conscience with regard to suffering across the world. Close to the forgotten of the earth - the excluded, the destitute, the persecuted - more and more people are looking for solutions.

30 Happy those who live in the trusting of faith; they will see God! How will they see him? Like Mary who, attentive, "kept everything in her heart" (Luke 2,19.51) and saw God with her inward eye.

31 See Philippians 1,21-25.

32 Wherever we are on this earth, we belong to societies which are complex and sometimes in turmoil. The Church has taken its place in these societies, and so it too can be shaken. So we remember that, in the Gospel, Christ tells us, "Don't worry!" (see Matthew 6,25-34). It is not an easy matter to put these words into practice in our lives! Not worrying never means being naive. Christ did not say, "Don't be clear-sighted!" The Gospel invites us to use good judgement (see Matthew 10,16).

33 Matthew 6,21.

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