About an hour ago, a prayer vigil in St Peter’s Square, of Taize pilgrims to Rome, ended. It had the look and feel of a mini-World Youth Day, but with almost 100% Western European faces. I sat on the steps of a nearby church and watched people just pouring down the road toward the square, much as the Romans had done a few days ago for the Urbi et Orbi blessing. I went over and saw the Holy Father ride through the crowd in the Popemobile. After the service, kids who had held special candles in the square held them carefully, trying to keep the flames alight.
I think it would be worthwhile to consider the peculiar phenomenon of Taize music, in light of its success among young people. Although I cannot say many positive things about the music of Taize itself, I think that at least we can say that it does take young people seriously as praying beings–which seems to me to be the first step in pastoral work with young people. The music is not there to entertain, nor to overshadow the words. Rather, the music strives to cantillate, to magnify and enrich Biblical texts through music. Secondly, it intends to lead to recollection.
I would hope that a similar movement could arise that might take young people seriously as musical and artistic beings, who can find themselves elevated by music that is respectable as art.
In his remarks to the young people, the Holy Father said:
Together with silence, song has an important place in your community
prayers. In these days the songs of Taizé fill the basilicas of Rome.
Song is a support and incomparable expression of prayer. Singing to
Christ, you open yourselves to the mystery of His hope. Do not be afraid
to precede the dawn in praise of God, you will not be disappointed.
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