From Edmund Burke, Quaker Chaplain:
Recently one of our Taizé friends gave us a little book, a collection of pictures of Brother Roger in his later years, among the familiar Taizé scenes, and interspersed with a brief anthology of his reflections and prayers.
It’s six years now since Brother Roger died. But he remains an abiding part of Taizé, and his grave, (a little space of growing flowers, by the door of the old village church, where he and the first brothers used to worship) has become a place of quiet pilgrimage.
The pictures brought back memories of Brother Roger as we knew him when we first discovered Taizé – the air of deep tranquillity that often recalled to me a phrase from an old poem of Walter de la Mare, ‘so profoundly still a face’; and the wider stillness that could fall upon a crowd of many hundreds in the church when he began, always very slowly and simply, to speak.
Some of his words, simple enough to transcend all our denominational differences, I’d like to share from the anthology. For example, when he speaks of ‘the irreplaceable gift given to each one of us’, and urges ‘… keep silence, withdraw into the desert, if only once in a lifetime, and discover that gift.’
Or in similar vein, his prayer ‘Holy Spirit, consoling Spirit, when we remain in your presence, silent, at peace, that is already prayer. You understand everything about us, and at times even a simple sigh can be a prayer.’
And, perhaps the most characteristic of all, what he calls the ‘dazzling intuition of St John’ who ‘… expresses what God is in three words ‘God is love’. If we can grasp only these three words we shall go far, very far.’
Or again, with that uncompromising simplicity, ‘In prayer or in struggle, only one thing is disastrous, the loss of love.’