“We sing it in Latin: ‘in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum,’ and we repeat it,’” he said.
“I feel this prayer is so important that we abandon ourselves really to God, that we really trust, even in very difficult situations when life is not easy but that we express also in these situations our trust in God, even if we have the impression that God does not just help … but we continue to believe that He is present,” Br. Alois said.
“This is one example and we are glad that we can have these repetitive songs in Taizé because people don’t have to read complicated texts in different languages. One sentence you have to learn in a language even that you do not speak. And you can repeat it and it creates communion among all those who are present.”
Br. Alois explained that in the beginning many of the songs and prayers in the community were in French. But as more international pilgrims began coming, they found that Latin was a language that brought unity in prayer.
He said that there is a long tradition of repetitive prayer and meditation in the Catholic Church, with the prayer of the rosary and the Litany of the Saints as examples.
The Taizé leader said that he prayed every day for victims of clerical abuse, aware that his own community had received allegations of abuse.
In 2019, Br. Alois issued a statement that the community had received five allegations of abuse committed between the 1950s and the 1980s by three of its members -- two of whom have been dead for more than 15 years.
The prior told EWTN that he felt a great sense of responsibility for all of the young people welcomed each year by his community and that changes had been made to the Taizé brothers’ formation, along with the provision of training for volunteers.
“We have to deepen the beauty of our commitment of celibacy also, which is not that we love less than other people but that we love in a different way,” he said.
While he acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic has made it hard to plan for the future, Br. Alois has said that he hopes that Taizé’s annual European meeting will be able to take place in person in Turin, northern Italy, at the end of this year after last year’s meeting was canceled.