December 13, 2013

The Labyrinth and Time for Reflection

By Margaret Rappaport

It’s the season to be jolly. It’s the season of joy that most of us look forward to all year. It’s also a time when the quiet of the labyrinth beckons us to reflection. Standing at the start of a walk, we pause to discern what purpose we might have that fits this time of year.

Reflection may include those things we need to let go of in order to find space within ourselves for the joy and jolliness of the season. Evelyn Underhill, mystic and author, suggests we pray, “O Lord, penetrate those murky corners where we hide memories and tendencies on which we do not care to look, but which we will not deter and yield freely up to you, that you may purify and transmute them; the persistent buried grudges, the half-acknowledged enmity which is still smoldering; the bitterness of that loss we have not turned into sacrifice; the private comfort we cling to; the secret fear of failure which saps our initiative and really is inverted pride; the pessimism which is an insult to your joy; Lord we bring all these to you, and we review them with shame and penitence in your steadfast light.”

Reflection may lift us above the ordinary to find a truer inspiration of the holidays. Reflection strengthens our resolve to express thanksgiving, gratitude and love. We take this opportunity to take the time that we need to feel and think our way into the spirit of the season. Contentment, wrote Francis de Sales in the sixteenth century, is feeling the providential care of God. God’s supreme gift feels as a child feels going out for a walk with her parents. Holding hands, picking fruit and delighting in the world might be the path to jolliness and joy for all of us.

These reflections and so many more come easily while walking the labyrinth.

Margaret Rappaport
Veriditas Certified Labyrinth Facilitator