Jesus, Love of all loving, you were always in me and I was forgetting you. You were in my heart of hearts and I was looking for you elsewhere. When I kept myself far from you, you were waiting for me. And now I dare to tell you: Risen Christ, you are my life.
This prayer was written by Brother Roger of Taizé and is taken from the book: Prayer for Each Day by Taizé (London, Cassell, 1998), p.155
The author of this prayer, Br Roger of Taizé, always used language that was arresting, filled with the breath-taking conviction of hope. This prayer is no different, a psalmists gift for our Lenten pilgrimage, leading us to a communion. Something in its simplicity and brevity makes us stop and perceive the world differently. The pattern of the prayer reflects the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). After attempting to run away from all that he loved, the Prodigal dared to stop and to see and to return home. We too are asked to do the same and dare to believe that the Risen Christ is already present within us. This is what we are preparing for in the Lenten fast.
Brother Roger was a man who dared to love all his life. When the world was being torn apart by the 2nd World War, he arrived at Taizé, a near derelict village in Burgundy, France. Asked by an old lady to stay, a profound sign of new life emerged through the development of a community of prayer and reconciliation.
It was the young, however, who were most eager to share Brother Roger’s vision. Year after year, young people travel to Taizé to search for the sources of faith. The prayer from Taizé simplifies this search. The one that we are seeking accompanies us, waiting for our gaze to rest upon him. The one who waits is the one who understands our confusion and hesitation. It is as if the waiting Christ experiences our fears but still waits on us. This is the love that is without condition; a love that trusts that we will eventually return to our ‘heart of hearts.’
The prayer is deeply authentic because its words were lived out in practice. The pilgrimage of Brother Roger’s life spoke of love and inspired his fellow brothers to share that same love selflessly. If we do not love with action then our ‘loving’ words are worth nothing. Roger inspired the young to risk becoming open to the ‘love of all loving.’ The risk is to accept Christ as risen, as the one who speaks to our ‘heart of hearts.’
(Each Sunday at 6.30pm in term time, St Michael’s offers a short, contemplative time of worship in the style of the Taizé Community).