Gérard Rouzier, actor and trainer: “Christ responds to my quest for sincerity”
“In the beginning was the Word. » The tall stature and stony face contrast with the softness of Gérard Rouzier’s voice. For sixty years, man has had a passion for speaking on stage. Indeed, it was at the age of 9, after seeing a show, that he realized that this was a passion that made a life. “You are talented, but you lack sincerity,” one of his teachers later called out to him. But how can we find this truth in acting?
The discovery and practice of Zen will constitute an important first step. “My life was better!” » But by dint of holding sessions in various Catholic and Orthodox monasteries, the figure of Christ comes to disturb the beautiful balance. “Either you come forward or we stop the bullshit,” he dared to say to her one day in 1993, in what was almost already a prayer.
Shortly after, a director called him to ask him to play the role of Jesus in a sacred art festival in Vézelay (Yonne). A new interior revolution is coming: the reading of the prologue of Saint John resounds like an “explosion”. As a personal challenge, the actor learns the text of this Gospel by heart. We remind ourselves: why not stage this text? This is what he did, first in Vézelay, then in Paris for six months. The public asks for more.
Gérard begins to lead workshops to transmit this ruminated, patient reading of the Word until “something settles in” within oneself. The Apocalypse, the Psalms, the prophet Hosea are other source texts for him. “When the Word radiates within us, then we feel alive and true.” Christ himself is no longer just the “greatest poet of all time”, as Christian Bobin said, he becomes the answer to his personal quest for “sincerity”. A unity becomes possible between the dynamic momentum of a text and the way of expressing it in the game.
Laurence Preud’homme, member of the Community of Christian Life: “Praying with the Bible, a gauge to measure my relationship with God”
Once a month, after dinner, Laurence jumps in her car to join Pézenas (Hérault) and her reflection group CVX (Community of Christian Life), a movement linked to Ignacian spirituality. The ten participants share a dessert but also and above all a time of spiritual exchange based on a passage from the Bible.
Often, the forty-year-old with the sweet face and large butterfly glasses is invited to project herself into one of the characters in a scene chosen in advance. “In the middle of a storm and while Jesus is sleeping, there are those who panic, those who look at Christ… Depending on my response, I quickly understand what my state of mind is at this moment in my life. » Laurence particularly appreciates this exercise which acts as a sort of thermometer to know if her relationship with God and those around her is peaceful.
“These meetings offer me a framework to pray. I discovered this proposition when I was wondering about my religious vocation, fifteen years ago. Ultimately, I remained secular but I never left the CLC community,” smiles the woman who today works as a trainer on environmental issues for an association.
From now on, Laurence takes a spiritual break at breakfast, thanks to a prayer application. A precious moment that she accompanies with music linked to the biblical readings of the day. Often the words run through his head: a good way to pray all day.
Katharina Schächl, pastor in Ariège: “The Bible connects us beyond our confessions”
The old Ariège farm in which Katharina has taken up residence seems straight out of a fairy tale. The 54-year-old pastor shares the space with strange roommates: two goats graze a few meters away, seven cats wander around and get to know each other while a dog keeps watch. “Sometimes I understand that my life is like that of a hermit. I like this peaceful atmosphere, it helps me adopt a slower pace than in the city. Especially for studying the Bible. » Doctor of theology, Katharina enjoys meditating on the original text: “Reading the text in Hebrew or Greek slows down my reading, it makes me more attentive to the meaning of the words. »
But make no mistake, this Protestant with an enveloping German accent also roams the hills and the valleys. About thirty kilometers separate it from its three parishes, of which it took charge in June. In this rural area, the study of the Bible is an opportunity to create links between the faithful. To do this, she draws on her twenty years of experience as a trainer for the theovie.org service which offers free online training.
With a local priest, she also launched ecumenical biblical meetings: “The participants discover what binds our faith beyond currents and confessions. There is something there that nourishes us independently of our chapels,” she rejoices.
Michel Bensoussan, dentist in Jerusalem, created a synagogue: “The Torah is a treasure”
Michel Bensoussan, 63, has always studied the Torah. As a child, after school, his grandfather read to him the texts of the Pentateuch and its numerous rabbinical commentaries. “I get from him the taste for studying and teaching the Torah,” he confides. Thus, Michel and his ancestor respected the Jewish injunction according to which one must teach the biblical word to one’s children and grandchildren.
Michel has four children and two grandchildren, but his audience goes well beyond his descendants. For forty years, every week, he has taught several groups. More recently, he created a synagogue, a place of prayer and endless discussions on the Torah.
“This text constitutes a treasure, each of its words an essential archaeological discovery for humanity. » He therefore examines it from all angles. “If the Torah is holy, it is not sacred,” explains Michel. On the contrary, it is “about interpreting the written law which belongs to all Jews in order to give it life. We do not claim to be the people of the Book but those of the oral law. Of course, everything starts from the written law, but the written word scares us when it is frozen. Now, a fixed idea is idolatry, like the Golden Calf.”
The Torah itself carries this dynamic, since each story is told in at least two different ways; a way to keep a distance from the text. “Torah study can be compared to billiards!” he said smiling. The Torah is the ball that shakes me; my interpretation has repercussions on the other who, in turn, will awaken another. To study the Torah is to accept being shaken. »
Agnès Charlemagne, trainer and author of a spiritual awakening course for young people: “The words of children dislodge our thoughts”
There is a conquering determination in Agnès Charlemagne. But unlike her namesake emperor, the only artillery she uses is the Bible. For ten years, this mother of three children has led spiritual workshops. Thanks to her method called You’re Where*, Agnès offers ideas for leading a time of discussion about God with a young audience. “No need to be knowledgeable to talk about the Bible, on the contrary! We forget that Jesus addresses others through action and encounter: he is constantly moving,” she reassures.
At the start of the session, a sentence, taken from a previous workshop, allows you to start thinking. “The sentences coming from the mouths of adolescents come to dislodge us where some of our thoughts had been left fallow, out of laziness or fear of difficulty. » For example: “It would be good to kill God because he is tired and he would like to have a successor. »
Without a filter, the ball, once thrown, bounces from one participant to another. “It’s very violent,” then, “who are we to know what God thinks?” » Agnès suggests reading passages from the Bible which support the point, for example the story of the Burning Bush. “The biblical story has an immediate leverage effect on the exchange. Despite its ancestral character, it offers archetypes that speak to all civilizations,” rejoices this graduate of the Institute of Science and Theology of Religions in Marseille.
Agnès insists, the main thing lies in the exchange. “To ask others what they think is to set yourself free! Let us move away from the academic vision which dictates to us what we must know or remember, let us let ourselves be touched and surprised. » And this is how the conquest of hearts is successfully carried out.
* What are you looking for? Spiritual awakening journey for young peoples, Agnès Charlemagne, Ed. CRER-Bayard; €22.90.