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Posted October 24, 2008

Book: Choose to Love: Brother Roger of Taize 1915-2005
Les Presses de Taize, France. 2007. pp. 141

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Brother Roger entered the life of eternity on August 16, 2005. the Taize Community is publishing these pages to attest to its infinite gratefulness for the gift of its founderís life. This book indicates the principal intuitions of Brother Roger and how he worked them out practically in the course of the communityís history. Some texts from his books and letters are printed here, as well as excerpts from a long conversation recorded in 1992 but never published. Beside each of these texts there are few of the thousands of messages of condolence sent to Taize from Brother Rogerís death. ďChoose to LoveĒ is the title that Brother Roger intended to give an unfinished book that he was preparing during the last week of his life. Some texts he collected for this book are also included.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Among the Very Poor

From the first years of the Community, when the number of brothers had grown to about twelve, it became clear that some of them should go to share the life of people in need. At first this was put into practice not far from Taize, at Montceau-les-Mines; then a greater distance away at Marseilles. Later, some of them crossed the Mediterranean and settled in Algeria, a country that was just entering a long period kof violence. Later, still, the brothers went even further, and now some of them are living in small groups among the very poor in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

For more than thirty years, a few of our brothers have been in Bangladesh. They live in great simplicity, eating only rice and vegetables, and an egg or a bit of fish once a week. They often welcome the most destitute people to their meal. They welcome and support disabled people, and accompany the sick to make sure they have the care they need. They help local young people to take on responsibilities for the very poor, for example by organizing little schools for the children. From the beginning, trust and dialogue with Muslim believers have grown up.

A good many years ago, I went with one of my brothers to visit this little fraternity in Bangladesh. As we arrived at the poor place where they live, we found a one-year old child, wearing rags and clinging to his brother who was not much older. The two children were waiting for us. I took the younger one in my arms during the meal. Gradually he warmed up, and in the end he ate a little food. A child begins to live again when it can feel that it is loved and cared for.

My brothers and I talked together. Their presence seems so insignificant. But, by means of it, we are not deserting some of the most unfortunate people on earth. How could we keep going at Taize if some of us did not live in the midst of the poorest in Asia, Africa and Latin America? Why go to live in such conditions and remain for years and years, perhaps for an entire lifetime? Not to bring solutions, but above all to be a simple presence of love. Yes, to love and say it by the life we lead.

Table of Contents:

Homage to Brother Roger
Beginnings
Childhood
Music
Youth
A key for the ecumenical vocation
Departure
The beginnings of community life
Return to Taize
Choose to love
Parable of Community
A yes for an entire lifetime
Simplicity
Welcoming children
Welcoming the unfortunate
Welcoming the young
Inner Life
Prayer
Listening
That Unique Communion Which is the Church
The reconciliation of Christians
Giving reconciliation a concrete expression
Significant Encounters
John XXIII
John Paul II
Patriarch Athenagoras
Johannes Hempel
Mother Teresa
Across the Continents
Among the very poor
Entering a time of trust
Visits to Eastern Europe
Visits on other continents
A Life Given for Peace
Death
Forgiveness
A future of peace
Create in the human family possbilities to broaden
Brother Rogerís Death Placed a Seal on what he had always been
Chronology of Brother Rogerís Life
Brother Rogerís Books