Meditation by Brother Alois

Responsible for our wonderful planet

Thursday August 29, 2019 | Taizé

Tonight, I would like to pay special tribute to the many speakers during this week of reflection. We are very grateful that our reflection has been nourished by the contributions of so many experts and friends.

These days, we are in particular communion with the young people gathered in Tlemcen in Algeria. They are spending a week there similar to the program of the summer weeks in Taizé.

This week was preceded by a weekend of friendship between young Muslims and Christians. Now we are dealing with a wide variety of themes: the welcome of migrants, education, interreligious dialogue, politics and economics, and we always want to approach them with the eyes of faith.

It seems to me essential to bring together inner life and solidarity. Prayer and commitment to others are two faces of the same reality.

One example is found in the Gospel, when a teacher of the Law asked Jesus what was the greatest commandment, he replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself ...” (Mt 22:37-39).

We have chosen to offer this week a special program to go further with environmental issues. At a time when the climate emergency is so serious, we have heard scientists, activists, politicians and representatives of civil society.

I think that your generation will help us to realize collectively that a change in our way of life is needed. In this respect, it is very encouraging to see the emergence of host of grassroots initiatives, by means of which some people undertake very concrete commitments. And these initiatives seem to me more and more to have an impact at the political level.

Everyone is invited to act at their level. To revise our lifestyles, to simplify what can be simplified, to be attentive to the beauty of creation, we do not need to wait for policy-makers to act.

Of course, given the climate emergency today, the level of individual practice alone is not enough. But it is nevertheless an indispensable condition for change.

Given the magnitude of the problems, the destruction of our planet’s resources, the decline in biodiversity, some—we understand them—are tempted by discouragement. For my part, I consider it a sign of the times that you are ready to make a commitment to this cause.

Trust in God, and for Christians in Christ Jesus who lived on our earth, sustains us. Faith gives us hope that is stronger than fear of the future.

Indeed, through the trust of faith, we discover how God is at work in his creation, and how he also calls us to be responsible for our wonderful planet ... and for the next generation.

I would like to make a concrete proposal. This Sunday will begin the season of Creation, at the initiative of Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew. Could we propose, in many of our local Churches, a vigil of prayer for the safeguarding of creation, possibly preceded by a time of reflection? We will be able to reflect with you and make proposals on our website.

Yes, let us always strive to find new energy, in all our commitments, at the wellspring of prayer. It is in a daily renewed dialogue with his Father that Jesus found the strength to help so many people around him.

Tomorrow evening, we will have, as we do every Friday, the prayer around the cross. It is for us a reminder of the death of Jesus, and a possibility offered to us to entrust to Christ our own burdens and those of others, but also the suffering of our human family.

Finally, I would like to announce that our next week of reflection for young adults between the ages of 18 and 35 will take place, exactly one year from now, from August 23 to 30, 2020. Before that, I hope that many of you will come to experience the warmth of Polish hospitality in Wrocław from 28 December to 1 January 2020.

I would now like to give the floor to Anastasia, a young volunteer from Uganda who is spending the summer with us.

My country, Uganda, is found in the eastern part of Africa. It is one of the leading countries for hosting refugees in the world. I am a youth leader in my parish as well as a coordinator in the diocese, I started working as a volunteer in church since I was 10 years old.
Due to the rapid population growth in Uganda, young people are facing many challenges such as lack of jobs, forced marriage, illiteracy, poverty, lack of career guidance. Young believers struggle on their own, travelling long distances to church, walking for almost 5-6 kilometers to reach the church. This makes young people lose faith. Nevertheless, besides all the challenges, young people in Uganda never give up.
A concrete example of this is that we constructed a small chapel for praying and later on we were given a parish whereby we are now working hand in hand with older people to construct the parish. We also work in the parish church itself, cleaning around the church every Saturday and laying bricks, and carrying out agriculture to provide food for our priest. Now we ask you to pray for us in the construction of our church. Thank you for making Taizé a beautiful place for the growth of our faith.

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[1Picture: Cédric Nisi

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