Re-reading the legacy of brother roger – living solidarity

Re-reading the legacy of brother roger - living solidarity


Dominik Meiering, Vicar General of Cologne, took part in the commemoration of the anniversary of Brother Roger's death in Taize. For him, the legacy of the founder of Taize means finding a new, common perspective for the world through the Gospel.


Interviewer: How did they receive the news of Brother Roger's death??

Dominik Meiering (Cologne Vicar General): That was really a shock for all of us. We were really unsettled and we first had to get a grip on ourselves. But we realized that what Brother Roger initiated was a foundation that will last a lifetime. And that is why there are so many people here these days. And many representatives of different Christian churches, but also from far beyond, have come here not to commemorate Brother Roger's death, but to appreciate his life's work. And above all, to ask ourselves: What does it mean for us today?? That is why Brother Alois, the new prior of the community, has called this week a "week of solidarity" and has asked us to live a new solidarity.
Interviewer: In other words, the mood in Taize on the tenth anniversary of the death is not depressed, but rather forward-looking.

Meiering: Of course, absolutely. We have beautiful weather here. At breakfast I sat together with representatives of very different churches. And that is very exciting, when they tell about their experiences with ecumenical life and also about what kind of inspiration for them came from Brother Roger. It's quite a colorful picture: We have some Orthodox here, for example the Syriac Orthodox from India, also members of Protestant churches from Sweden or from Finland. Then we have the Free Churches there, the Pentecostals from France, for example, so it's really quite diverse. But everyone is here together, trying to re-read Brother Roger's legacy for the future.

Interviewer: "New solidarity" was the key word of the week that Brother Alois celebrated there. What does that mean, "new solidarity"??
Meiering: For Brother Alois, of course, this means first of all to live from the Gospel. And I think this is also something that is very important and interesting for us as a Catholic Church. There has always been a Bible introduction by a brother here in Taize. Afterwards we talk in small groups about this bible text. Talking about the Bible here is not a marginal topic for pious people, but everyone participates in it. And everyone suddenly makes a positive experience that from this conversation about the Holy Scriptures a perspective for one's own life but also for a new togetherness can grow. And even, beyond that, a perspective for the world can grow.
Interviewer: Brother Roger was a charismatic person, someone who also had visions. What can we see now, 10 years after his death, how he may have changed the world??
Meiering: I think what we all feel here is that he was serious about the Gospel. There is this famous phrase: "Live the Gospel" – even if it is still so little that you have understood from it. And what Brother Roger has given me personally, and has also given me here on a large scale, is that the other is not another, but one whom God has placed at my side, as one who belongs to me. The other is one who belongs to me, and as such I should understand him; perhaps as a challenge, but perhaps also as a gift. As one who helps me to become someone else. Therefore, the whole thing here is important not only in terms of ecumenical efforts, but a world responsibility must grow out of this new togetherness of Christians. I think everyone who is here feels that. So the question is: "In what way do we want to shape our society and our world?? We want to be present and active? For example, we had a full day of workshops on a wide variety of social, political, economic topics. There it is quite exciting to see, how one suddenly speaks about the topic debts. There is a brother of the community involved as well as a member of the European Parliament. And we discuss it and ask ourselves the question: How can we approach the subject from our Christian perspective in such a way that we do justice to our responsibility for this world as Christians?.

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