Sunday, October 13, 2013

Silent Retreat: Part Two -- How to Use a Labyrinth as a Prayer Tool

Dear Friend,
If you missed my last post, go here. I'm writing about my first experience at a silent spiritual retreat. I left off at the point were I had just settled into a quiet spot by the river and I was checking out the labyrinth handout that our director had given us before the retreat began.

The labyrinth is described here as "a defined path, a physical journey inward to a sacred space." I've re-written the rest of the instructions to show you how it works step-by-step:

The goal: To discover your deepest, truest self while encountering peace and rest in the company of your ever-present God.

1. Pause. Breathe slowly. Begin when you are ready. Trace your finger along the path.

2. As you enter, leave distractions behind.

3. As you move forward, embrace what God brings to you. Pay attention to any words, thoughts, or feelings that come to you.

4. When you reach the center, linger there with God. Meditate on "Christ in you, the Hope of glory." as He reveals Himself to you.

5. The way out is the same as the way in -- just follow the path. The return journey offers space for reflection as you move back toward the exterior world, transformed at the core of your being. Carry with you the peace of Christ, which is with you always. 

"Meditation is not so much concerned with thinking as with being. And in contemplative prayer we seek to become the person we are called to be, not by thinking about God, but by being with Him." ~John Main

After tracing the pathway on the handout with my finger and entering into a moment of pure stillness in center of the labyrinth, I felt an urge to pick up my pencil. I recalled our director's prompting: Ask God for one thing.

I wrote that one thing down.

Because I feel overwhelmed
And hopelessly flawed.
I can't live up to my own ideals;
I'm weary of trying to get it all just right.

I ask for mercy
Because I've let others eclipse Your Light. 
When I look to them for approval,
Your Light appears dim
And I wither.

But here, Lord, Your mercy is washing over me,
Making me feel brave.
I am Your little child, drawing scribbles on this pretty paper -- do You like them?
I kiss Your hands and touch Your face.
Here in Your presence, 
I'm safe and free! 

During the next hour by the river I read various Scriptures and devotional materials. Each time I was struck by a passage, I wrote it down on my labyrinth. My copy-work curved all the way out of the labyrinth and into the white space beyond. This helped me to reflect on the experience and carry the peace of God with me into the exterior world. 

"The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace." ~Mother Teresa 

I hope you will make some time for meditation today. Perhaps the labyrinth will help you go deeper in prayer than ever before. In my next post, I'll wrap up this series with some photos from my prayer-walk around the Spiritual Center property.

Peace & Joy,


  1. Meditation has become a very special thing to me and a vital part of my healing. I love the words from the quote you shared: "not by thinking about God, but by being with Him". Beautiful.

    1. It's such a joy for me to share this experience with you, Krista. I know you get it! :-)

  2. This is really beautiful, Adriana. I love the idea of asking God for one thing: talk about focus! And writing on the labyrinth sheet sounds like a wonderful way to reflect.

    There is a Catholic spirituality centre not far from where I live (and by not far I mean a ten-minute walk). I went there once with a friend to do a three-week art therapy course. They offer daytime and overnight retreats as well but I have never participated in any; I might consider that.

  3. That quote form Main is outstanding, but what touched me even more are these words: " I am Your little child, drawing scribbles on this pretty paper -- do You like them?"

    God is so pleased with his children!

    1. He is gracious and full of compassion. Thank you very much, friend.

  4. I am also struck with this words "And in contemplative prayer we seek to become the person we are called to be, not by thinking about God, but by being with Him." we are called to become God's children. And sometimes it is so hard to just be and feel that. :)

    we are all fine here, a little bit groggy after the earthquake but just fine. thank you for asking. I am a bit sad by all the calamities we are all experiencing as a nation. especially those people who have been hit. all the corruptions, war, calamities, bombing, makes me a bit numb. I dont know how to pray about all these. I guess ive never tried to include everyone in my prayer. I dont know how. wew wew. painful.

    1. I always learn something delightful when I visit your blog, Sheena. You are a wonderful contemplative.

      Thank you for checking in to let me know that you and your family are OK. Prayers for your nation, dear one. Life is such a sweet, fragile gift. {{♥}}


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