The Labyrinth at Holy Family
The labyrinth is open daily to the public and is accessible by wheelchair.
The labyrinth at Holy Family, dedicated on September 11, 2008, is an ancient symbol of wholeness and a metaphor for life’s journey. While labyrinths date back more than 4000 years, the medieval labyrinth dates to the Middle Ages when medieval pilgrims, unable to fulfill their desire to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem, went instead to many pilgrimage sites throughout Europe. They often convened at a labyrinth formed of stone in the floor of Gothic cathedrals. Within the safety of the cathedrals, they would walk the labyrinth, symbolic of their life’s journey to God.
Spirituality of the Labyrinth
Life is full of twists and turns. Life’s journey is rarely one straight path directed toward our goal. Unexpected events can take us in directions that may surprise and even stress us. Our faith steadies us in the midst of many twists and turns. Throughout the walk, we rely on our faith and trust that the winding path truly leads to God, the center of our lives. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth has only one path leading from its entrance to its center and back out, albeit by a winding route. When we walk the labyrinth in the presence of God, even though we do not seem to know where we are going, we trust that we will find our way back home.
At the Center of our Labyrinth
At the center of the labyrinth is a circular sculpture created by stonemason Dan Sieracki. The circle is a symbol of eternity and the fullness of life to which God calls each of us. This empty circle at the labyrinth’s center reminds us to empty ourselves so that we might be filled with Christ’s peace.
How to Walk the Labyrinth
There is no single correct way of walking the labyrinth as a spiritual practice. Feel free to walk in a way that expresses your unique relationship with the divine, but here is a suggested approach.
At the Entrance
Begin in silence. Walk slowly with an open mind and heart. Become aware of your breath and let go of thoughts, judgments, and internal commentaries. Allow yourself to find the pace your body wants to go. Just be here in the present moment.
Three Stages of the Walk
I. Purgation (Emptying) ~ Walk slowly and breathe mindfully. Empty yourself of thoughts, burdens, and distractions. This is the time to open your heart and quiet your mind. Become empty like the great circle at the labyrinth’s center. Remember God is breathing with you and through you.
II. Illumination (Receiving) ~ When you reach the center, breathe mindfully and stay there as long as you like. This is a place of meditation and prayer. Receive from God what is there for you to receive. Imagine yourself as an empty vessel being filled with God’s love and peace. Remember that God lives at the center of your being.
III. Union (Returning) ~ As you leave, breathe mindfully and follow the same path out of the center as you came in. In your departing, you are joining God and God’s healing power at work in the world. Each time you walk the labyrinth you become more empowered to find and do the work you feel your soul reaching for.