(This is Neil). Let me first wish our readers a blessed New Year. I will be frighteningly busy during January and will not have an opportunity to post very often. Perhaps I will at least have an opportunity to work on better categorizing some of my earlier posts. For now, I wanted to share part of a meditation given by Brother Alois at the Taizé meeting in Zagreb on December 31. As always, it is both simple and very profound. We might ask ourselves what it is that prevents us from going beyond the “separations that remain” and why we continue to desperately cling to certain boundaries. Do we really believe that Christ “walks alongside every human being” or does God’s generosity still disturb us?
Christ came not just to teach us but to bring us into communion with God. He says to each person: you are close to God, and this is true for ever. Even if we have very little faith, even if we have the impression that there are strong doubts in us, God never stops looking for our friendship.
There is an icon here that expresses that, the icon of friendship. It comes from Egypt; it is from the sixth century. We see Christ with his hand on the shoulder of his friend to walk with him, to accompany him.
We can all recognize ourselves in that friend of Christ’s. This icon recalls the heart of the Gospel: if the Risen Christ is invisible for our eyes, we can nonetheless entrust ourselves to his presence. He walks alongside every human being. Looking at that icon is already a prayer that unites us to God.
And we live this friendship among ourselves as well. Christ unites us in one communion, that of the Church. Let us widen this friendship then, let us go beyond the separations that remain! If we could do all in our power so that it becomes more evident that the Church is a place of friendship for all!
When we become aware of the friendship that God has for each one of us, we discover new courage to create friendship with those entrusted to us and in particular with those who are most vulnerable. An attentiveness to the most abandoned persons has an immense value in our societies where the need to be efficient sometimes leads to isolation.