Twice this past week I’ve been drawn to St. Benedict’s, a short drive from my home, to walk and pray the labyrinth there. Both times I found myself completely alone, basking in the quiet and in the use of this simple prayer tool cut into the grass. It’s a little dry now, because of the current heat wave, but still dotted with tiny white clover. There’s one large tree at the edge of the labyrinth and others further back and all of them carry the sound of the wind when it blows.
Once it was “help” and “please” all the way into the heart of it, and “thank you” on the way out. The next time it was slowing down to become aware of God’s presence, and the images that kept coming to me concerned Following: a cloud, a fire, a shield, the cross, and Christ.
The gate into the labyrinth is simple. Unremarkable, really. It marks a place to start and to finish. It’s a measurement of time — the time to pray and listen. Unremarkable, but somehow beautiful too, in the way that a good invitation can feel so wondrous to our spirits. Jesus spoke of himself as a gate, and seeing this one, I can’t help but think of his call:
Come to me, all that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)