As the light dimmed in the sanctuary of the St. Helena Catholic Church, the birdsong seemed to accompany the shadows as they paralleled our silences and prayers. Even those kneeling before the cross seemed iconic, silhouetted in that light from my vantage at the keyboard singing 'Jesus remember me' over and over. The sheer beauty of the Taize service very often is what feeds and brings peace, I hear frequently from those attending. It's one thing we can do I believe. We can live and create beauty even in a place that seems foreign to it, for the scriptures tell us that where there is beauty there is the Spirit of God.
I want to direct you to the Taize community website, and print a bit of one of the brothers' writings about how he sees the prayer of Taize, and why it's format may appeal to so many. Take a look at www.taizecommunity.com. Click on 'prayer and song', then click again on 'Young adults and prayer at Taize.'
...what touches people in Taize is perhaps the sense that we strive to make the expression of faith as simple as possible. The sung prayer is an invitation to a search that draws them onward beyond themselves, that, by placing on their lips words from another age, gently forces them to de-center themselves, to empty themselves. In another way the repetition of the songs many be a kind of turning the scriptural text around and around in all directions so that they may be illuminated by an unexpected light and emerging feelings.
By unifying the feelings, the energies, the heart is the place from which good intentions can arise like purified water. Prayer as vigilance, awakening, and listening enables us to concentrate, to re-center our own desires and to synchronize them with love. Prayer is that preparation of the heart to be attentive to the vigilance that love requires in different situations.
Through singing and silence, young people discover they are able to have new hearts, simple hearts in the original meaning of the term, a heart without a fold, i.e., an unfolded heart, one that is stripped to its essentials, a heart that remains close to its desires, and in this way discovers more clearly how God calls it to be creative.
God blesses us, and God's Spirit works continually in us, providing us with the beautiful at every turn. As we break now for the summer season, let us all become diligent to be intentional about looking for and collecting with gratitude the abundance of gifts God has for us. See you October 5.