We are nearing the halfway point of Lent. For many, the interior battles and withdrawals are growing with a fierce intensity. Do you not know someone who is experiencing an intense spiritual struggle? Chances are you do, but maybe you cannot see it. Grief is always around and during our times of struggle, it is important for us to keep a faithful perspective on our lives. Some ways our faith teaches us to find perspective is through prayer, song or meditation. Taize is an opportunity which includes all of those aspects.
Taize prayer is best described as “an ecumenical sung and silent participatory prayer service designed to achieve a contemplative state through music, song and silence.” Here in West Michigan, there are a few ways to participate in Taize prayer, one being at St. Mary’s church in downtown Grand Rapids on the second Monday night of each month. I have been a couple of times and have loved experiencing the voice of God, the contemplative nature of it, and the depth of which Christ pierces me with his mercy and love. It is also a safe and collaborative way to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ to come together to pray for peace everywhere in the world. Below are some lyrics from one particular song that stands out to me and one that moves me deeply during Lent.
Stay with me, remain here with me.
Watch and pray, watch and pray.
1. Stay here and keep watch with me. Watch and pray, watch and pray!
2. Watch and pray not to give way to temptation.
3. The spirit is eager, but the flesh is weak.
4. My heart is nearly broken with sorrow. Remain here with me, stay awake and pray.
5. Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by.
6. Father, if this cannot pass me by without my drinking it, your will be done.
For those of you who participate in Good Friday liturgies (which I highly recommend if you have not), this song is often sung when the Eucharist is brought out of the church and is moved elsewhere, signifying Christ’s death and absence during this time. It is a powerful message and the time spent worshiping the Eucharist in deep prayer and meditation can move mountains within the soul. However, you do not have to wait until Holy Week to experience the depth of this meditative prayer. Thankfully, the social media sources that be, have given us access to this music so we can listen to it anytime we need to. Simply visit YouTube and type in “Stay With Me Taize) in the search bar to find several music videos you can listen to at work, on Sunday mornings, or to prepare you for Eucharistic adoration or Holy Week.
“Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” Matthew 26:38
As I said in the beginning, there is always someone around us who is experiencing struggle and grief. The beginning of Christ’s intense grief happened in the garden of Gethsemane. Our Lady has given us the sorrowful rosary to meditate on this mystery, and our faith community has expanded upon that by giving us this beautiful Taize prayer. I encourage you to take a look into it and to deepen your roots to Mary, most Holy and pure, and to ask her to help you pray alongside her son during this Lenten season.
Stay with Him. Remain here with Him. Watch and pray.