Thursday, October 20, 2016

Walking the Labyrinth

Back in August, I was on the west coast for work.  On my last evening there, I spent some time in a local quilt shop.  I still had several hours before I had to be at the airport for my red-eye flight home.   I had read about The Grotto in Portland, so I decided to visit.
The property was bought and developed as an answer to a promise Fr. Ambrose Mayer made as a young boy.   His mother was near death after giving birth to his sister.  He prayed for their survival and vowed to do a great work for the church.  He found a large plot of land that, with help, he purchased and built a tribute to Mary.  A large grotto was hewn out of the cliff left behind when the land was quarried by the Union Pacific Railroad for their rail beds.
An elevator ride to the top of the cliff leads to a second part of the property that was developed as parkland with areas for reflection and prayers.  There are areas dedicated to St. Joseph, the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, various saints, and, of course, the Virgin Mary.
Tucked away in a secluded spot is a labyrinth.  Designed as a replica of the medieval labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral in France, this is supposed to offer an opportunity for meditation and contemplation as one walks to the center and back out again.

I have to admit I was a bit dubious about the whole thing.  It always seemed contrived and gimmicky, verging on new-agism, to me.  But, since I had time, and no one was around, I figured I would give it a try. 
I walked it slowly and deliberately, saying a few prayers, thanking God for productive trip and asking for a safe journey home.  I don't remember everything I thought about as I moved through it.  I had a few insights to some personal situations with which I have been struggling. 

For someone who is not good sitting in quiet prayer, I can see how the labyrinth could be helpful.  Moving through the path helped me quiet my mind.  I don't think I need a labyrinth to do that, though.  Our local parks provide an opportunity to walk, enjoy peaceful surroundings, and have prayer time with our Lord. 




  1. I have been to that Grotto! It is so beautiful isn't it?! I am glad you had some time for reflection while on a work trip :)

  2. I love the idea of moving with prayer! I've been thinking that I need to try to switch up my habits a little bit... And I think I want to try the 54 day novena, but I don't much like saying the rosary. I'm thinking some walking and praying might be in order!