Here is a brief communiqué from the Taizé Community on a subject dear to that community and to this blog: Christian reconciliation. The writer encourages Christians to meet together regularly (monthly or quarterly) for “vigils for reconciliation”: a worthy goal indeed, and one the Taizé Community supports by posting monthly suggested outlines for such a vigil on their website.
The article ends with an interesting reflection on what the various Christian faith communities bring to the reconciliation table. I am not sure if these are the words of Brother Roger, Taizé’s founder, or come from some other source:
An exchange of gifts between the different Christian traditions has already begun. We see in Taizé that, through praying together and in personal encounters, mutual esteem is growing and that such an exchange is occurring naturally.
Some aspects of the Mystery of the faith have been developed better by each Christian tradition.
The Christians of the East have always emphasized the resurrection of Christ that already transfigures the world. Is it not because of this that in past centuries many of them were able to endure decades of suffering? The East has preserved the teaching of the Church Fathers with great fidelity. Monasticism, which it gave to the West, has breathed a life of contemplation into the entire Church. Can Western Christians become more open to these treasures?
The Christians of the Reformation have strongly stressed these Gospel realities: God offers his love freely and unconditionally; by his Word he comes to whoever listens to it and puts it into practice; the simple trusting of faith leads to the freedom of the children of God; singing together allows the Word of God to penetrate us. Are not these values essential for all Christians?
The Catholic Church has kept visible, throughout history, the universality of communion in Christ. It has constantly looked for a balance between the local Church and the universal Church. One cannot exist without the other. A ministry of communion at all levels has helped to maintain unanimity in the faith. Cannot all baptized persons go further in a progressive understanding of this ministry?
Beyond denominations, it is urgent for an exchange of gifts between continents to develop. The Christians of Europe, for example, have much to receive from the Churches on other continents. In return for all that these Churches have received from Europe, today they can communicate to that continent a Gospel freshness.
The witnesses and the martyrs to Christ lead us towards one communion. They nourish our hope and our determination to seek visible unity among all Christians.