Easter Prayer of Brother Alois, Prior of Taize
Christ Jesus, you did not remain in death, but you rose from the dead and you live with God. Open our eyes and our hearts so that we can recognize the signs of your presence: they are so humble that often we do not notice them. You send us the Holy Spirit, power from above. We can therefore take the risk of believing in you, in your unlimited love for every human being. That is the source of new life for the whole of creation. Amen.
Remarks of Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, on the third anniversary of the death of Brother Roger, Founder of Taize:
“The death of Brother Roger moved me deeply. I was in Cologne for World Youth Day when we heard about the death of Brother Roger, the victim of an act of violence. His death reminded me of the words the prophet Isaiah spoke about theServant of the Lord: ‘Ill treated and afflicted, he never opened his mouth; like a lamb led to the slaughter-house, like a sheep dumb before its shearers, he never opened his mouth” (Isa 53:7) Thoroughout his life, Brother Roger followed the way of the Lamb: by his gentleness and his humility, by his refusal of every act of human greatness, by his decision never to speak ill of anyone, by his desire to carry in his own heart the sufferings and the hopes of humanity. Few persons of our generation have incarnated with such transparency the gentle and humble face of Jesus Christ. In a turbulent period of the Church and for the Christian faith, Brother Roger was a source of hope recognized by many, including myself. As a theology professor and then as Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, I always encouraged young people to stop in Taize during the summer. I saw how much that time spent close to Brother Roger and the community helped them better to understand and to live the Word of God, in joy and simplicity. I felt all that even more when I presided at his funeral liturgy in the large Church of Reconciliation in Taize.
Christian unity was certainly one of the deepest desires of the prior of Taize, just as the division between Christians was for him a true source of pain and regret. Brother Roger was a man of communion, who found it hard to tolerate any form of antagonism or rivalry between persons or communities. When he spoke of Christian unity and of his meetings with representatives of different Christian traditions, his look and his voice enabled you to understand with what intensity of charity and hope he desired “all to be one”. The search for unity was for him a kind of guideline in even the most concrete decisions of each day: to welcome joyfully any action that could bring Christians of different traditions closer, to avoid every word or act that could slow down their reconciliation. He practiced that discernment with an attentiveness that bordered on meticulousness. In the search for unity, however, Brother Roger was not in a hurry or nervous. He understood God’s patience in the history of salvation adn in the history of the Church. He never would have invited the young people to dissociate themselves with their pastors. Rather than the speed of the development of the ecumenical movement, he was aiming at its depth. He was convinced that only an ecumenism nourished by the Word of God and the celebration of the Eucharist, by prayer and contemplation, would be able to bring together Christians in the unity wished for by Jesus. It is in this area of spiritual ecumenism that I would like to situate the important contribution of Brother Roger and theTaize Community.
On August 16, 2005, during evening prayer, Brother Roger, founder and prior of the Taize Community, was assassinated by a deranged woman. He had recently celebrated his 90th birthday.