In The Spirit of Taize
Taize is an ecumenical sung and silent participatory prayer service designed to achieve a contemplative state through music, song and silence.
The Community of Taizé is recognized by the Holy See of Rome.
The Taize community, although Western European in origin, has sought to include people and traditions worldwide. They have sought to demonstrate this in the music and prayers where songs are sung in many languages, and have included chants and icons from the Eastern Orthodox tradition. The music emphasizes simple phrases, usually lines from Psalms or other pieces of Scripture, repeated and sometimes also sung in canon. Earlier Taizé community music was conceived and composed by Jacques Berthier. Later Joseph Gelineau became a major contributor to the music.
The Saint Patrick religious community is modeled on that of our brothers in the French community. We are, as they, ecumenical and follow the Rule of Taize written by Brother Roger before his untimely death.
Many communities across the world use the music and chants which have been handed down to the world from the community in Taizé.
We considered many of the various teachings of the great monastic and spiritual leaders of the early church prior to adopting the rule of Taize. This little writing, under the hand of Brother Roger, presents the teachings of Christ in a manner somewhat different from that of the others. The vast majority of lay people think of the rule of a religious community to be a set of regulations when nothing could be further from the truth. A religious rule is nothing more, certainly nothing less, than the teachings of Jesus Christ. This little book, in the words of Br. Roger, spell out how all who would call themselves a follow of Christ must live in relation to all others, dying to the self in order to fully love all without condition.
In addition to the music and prayers which come to us from Taize we also observe periods of meditation, or reflection.
At other times we incorporate music, Psalms and prayer handed to us from the early Irish, Celtic converts, worshiping as they worshiped, under the care and shepherding of Saint Patrick some 1300 years ago. The "Snow Missal" was brought to us by the priests and monks, missionaries from Ireland, who lived, worked and prayed at the two largest monastic communities on the European mainland in the 7th and 8th centuries. While it is true the Irish were far more conservative than their Gaelic, French, brethren, which the European clerics expressed objections to loud and clearly, the true reason for their rejection of the Irish missionaries may well have been due to the size of their communities. Not to mention the Irish were seen as being no where as near cosmopolitan, or educated, as their continental brothers.
The music, prayer and order of worship of these early Christians has much in common with that of Taize. We would be remiss if we did not make use of that given to us from our brothers from ages past.