For where two or three are gathered together…
By Amanda Turner
Matthew 18:20 tells us that where two or three are gathered together in Jesus' name, Jesus is there with them. Imagine when there are thousands gathered in his name? This was the experience of many of the pilgrims who attended World Youth Day in Sydney, just two years ago, and will be the experience of those young people heading off to Madrid next year.
|Silent Prayer at Kurrajong Retreat 2010|
The idea of a pilgrimage, a journey to a sacred place or a search for a purpose that is exalted, life changing and affirming is an old one. In ancient Greece pilgrims made their way to the Oracle of Delphi. Today pilgrims of all faiths travel to places such as the Holy Land, Mecca, the Ganges River and to other places of importance to their tradition.
In the Bourgogne region of France there is a small country village that has pilgrimage at it’s core. Taizé is home to the Taizé Community, a monastic, ecumenical, international community founded in 1940 by Brother Roger, which today has over 100 brothers from many different countries and from different Christian traditions.
Taizé is a place of pilgrimage. Every week, the brothers welcome hundreds and thousands of young people, generally between the ages of 17 and 30, from all around the world who come to pray and live in community and share in “the pilgrimage of trust on earth’ with the brothers.
The pilgrimage of trust is first of all a meeting; with the Risen Christ and with others. Praying together, we make ourselves available for God. The pilgrimage of trust is about reconciliation; through sharing and hospitality, everyone agrees to overcome barriers and differences in order to welcome and enrich one another.
“As we continue the “pilgrimage of trust on earth” that brings together young people from many countries, we understand more and more deeply this reality: all humanity forms a single family and God lives within every human being without exception.” (Brother Alois, Letter from Kolkata)
In February 2010, an international youth meeting was held in Manila as part of the “pilgrimage of trust” in Asia. Ten young Australians attended with the support of The NSW Ecumenical Council. Each pilgrim was billeted with a family for a week before the meeting. Sharing stories, meals and worship with these families who often had very little, but shared what they had with generosity.
In July 2010, three of these pilgrims joined with Brother Ghislain, from Taizé to share their experiences with others at a retreat in Kurrajong. It was a chance for people of different ages, cultures, Christian traditions and commitment to meet and to be enriched.
“There is something joyful in joining with others in simple worship, and being together in silence. There is no way to describe this joy of being in God’s presence, together with others. Meditative prayer is powerful, it creates space for God to speak intimately and for us to become aware of God’s love.” (Laura Baird, pilgrim)
To find out more about visiting or staying with the brothers in Taize, take a look at their website – http://www.taize.fr/en.
For information on groups who use the prayers and songs of Taizé in their worship go the website for The NSW Ecumenical Council.
Amanda Turner is a member of the Diocesan Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission: www.parra.catholic.org.au/ceid
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