On 23 August 2005,
Brother Roger Schutz, the founder and prior of an ecumenical community
of monks at Taizé, France, was buried
following a funeral mass in his community's great Church of the
Reconciliation. The funeral was, in many ways, a remarkable
testament not only to this holy man, but to the ministry of reconciliation
which was the hallmark of his long life. Standing in the church in
which Br. Roger was mortally wounded a week earlier, his successor as head
of the community began the service with a prayer asking God to forgive the
disturbed woman who had stabbed the aged prior. Then a cardinal of
the Roman Catholic Church celebrated a funeral mass for the Protestant
ecumenical vision still transcends the ability of the Christian
churches to live up to our Lord's prayer that we may "all be one."
Lessons were read by Protestant pastors and an Anglican bishop; final
prayers were offered by Orthodox bishops and clergy.
Br. Roger's commitment to the ministry of reconciliation was not limited to the quest for Christian unity. He shared with Mother Theresa of Calcutta an abiding love and concern for the poorest of the poor and the belief that peace and justice are the birthright of every human being. Most importantly, he understood that the reconciliation of communities and nations begins with the transformation of the individual. He and his community modeled a contemplative spirituality that draws one into the realization of the love of God and an ever deepening communion with God and one's fellow human beings. At the heart of this spirituality is the Cross of Christ and his Resurrection, in which we know the forgiveness and new life that can change both the heart and the world.
Christians and non-Christians throughout the world have been touched by the special charism of Br. Roger which broke down walls and built bridges. On the day of his burial Full Homely Divinity offers the following Liturgy of Reconciliation drawn from various sources.
The music clip heard at the opening of this page is
The Beatitudes chant
The Officiant may begin with brief words of welcome and then bids specific prayers, saying,
Let us pray for reconciliation, justice, and peace throughout the world.
Let us pray, first of all, for the Church, for its unity in faith, witness, and service:
for Pope Benedict XVI and the Roman Catholic
that we may be one as he and the Father are one. [silence]
And let us pray for all who seek to know God and to serve him, in this community and throughout the world:
for the peoples of the Book who know God as
One, his chosen people the Jews and the people of Islam;
that they and we together may walk in his light. [silence]
Let us also pray for the reconciliation of peoples and nations:
for peace in [specific places];
that we may all be lifted up as citizens of that Kingdom in which the weakness and foolishness of God are greater than the strength and wisdom of mankind. [silence]
Recognizing our personal responsibility and the responsibility of our own nation, races, and even churches for alienation and injustice, we offer these prayers in a spirit of penitence and faith, "for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
The Officiant then leads the
The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,
The covetous desires of men and nations to possess what is not their own,
The greed which exploits the labors of men, and lays waste the earth,
Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,
Our indifference to the plight of the homeless and the refugee,
The lust which uses for ignoble ends the bodies of men and women,
The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves, and not in God,
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
The Officiant then says this prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi:
Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
The liturgy may continue with a time of silent reflection, an appropriate hymn, such as hymns 581 or 606 from The Hymnal 1982, or with the Holy Eucharist, the preeminent sacrament of reconciliation.