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  #1  
Old Jun 10, '04, 7:49 am
thann thann is offline
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Default Labyrinth Prayer Walks?

I've been seeing more Catholic parishes install labyrinths (turf or canvas) for prayer walks. This smacks of New Age ****ola to me. One parish, for instance, has an "Autumn Solstice Prayer Walk with Bowls and Candles" ... I have no idea what that means, but it sounds just like Wicca.

I am well aware that many old European cathedrals (most notably the Cathedral at Chartres) have labyrinths in their floor mosaics.

Anyone have experience with the labyrinth prayer walk, or have any information pro or con?

'thann
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  #2  
Old Jun 10, '04, 7:55 am
arnulf arnulf is offline
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Default Re: Labyrinth Prayer Walks?

I have noticed that catholics who are into this are usually involved in other suspect activities, like "centering prayer" and "Christian yoga."
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  #3  
Old Jun 10, '04, 7:58 am
Stylteralmaldo Stylteralmaldo is offline
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Default Re: Labyrinth Prayer Walks?

I've walked the labyrinth while on retreat one time. It's a spiritual journey with Jesus.

A labyrinth is different from a maze in that it is not confusing because the path leads to the center using a single path and then back again.

I prayed the rosary on my journey and it was an uplifting experience for me.

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  #4  
Old Jun 10, '04, 8:18 am
Mary's Lamb Mary's Lamb is offline
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Default Re: Labyrinth Prayer Walks?

One day I was watching a program on the Discovery Channel. It was about the pagan practice of walking labyrinths. Immediately after the program, I got my mail. In it was a flyer about a "catholic" retreat house featuring their new labyrinth. You can make your own conclusion. But mine was that due to it's pagan origin, it wasn't something that I wanted to get into.
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  #5  
Old Jun 10, '04, 10:01 am
Stylteralmaldo Stylteralmaldo is offline
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Default Re: Labyrinth Prayer Walks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnulf
I have noticed that catholics who are into this are usually involved in other suspect activities, like "centering prayer" and "Christian yoga."
For the record, I'm not involved in "other suspect activites". I do not regularly "do a labyrinth walk". I have tried it at a Catholic retreat center (a very conservative retreat center at that).

I was willing to try the labyrinth out of curiosity more than anything at the time, however when I did it with Christ at the center of the walk, I found it as a very spiritual experience.

Would I walk a labyrinth again? At this time I find no reason not to. However, I see there are those that are against it and am willing to hear what others have to say about it and why it is an evil tool (if it is indeed evil).

If you could provide evidence to discourage me from walking such a labyrinth, perhaps I would reconsider my thoughts on it. Thanks, and God be with you.
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  #6  
Old Jun 10, '04, 11:47 am
Chaffa55 Chaffa55 is offline
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Default Re: Labyrinth Prayer Walks?

Here is a link to more information on this topic:

http://web.ukonline.co.uk/paradigm/historypage1.html

You can probably find more information on this topic with some Google searches. As you can see from the link, this is a very old practice in the Church (please see the portion on "Cathedral Labyrinths").

In my opinion and experience, prayer walks (with or without the labyrinth) are an excellent enhancement to Christian meditative prayer. Peace and blessings!
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  #7  
Old Jun 10, '04, 3:58 pm
Miss Piggy Miss Piggy is offline
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Default Re: Labyrinth Prayer Walks?

I have heard Johnnette Benkovic talk about labyrinths on her radio show, "Living His Life Abundantly". I don't remember the details, but I do remember that she does not endorse them and neither did Fr. Ed Sylvia (also on the show). Johnnette has a book out about New Age practices as does Fr. Mitch Pacwa that probably address labyrinths. The following was also posted on a thread on LHLA's forum: www.saint-mike.org/apologetics/qa/Answers/Spiritual_Warfare/s010813Don.html and also an article on Clare Merkle's site: www.crossveil.org where there is an article "The New Age Movement in the Episcopal Church," by Lee Penn. These are both recommended by Fr. Ed Sylvia. I hope this helps. I suggest you look into it before accepting it as compatible with the Catholic faith.
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  #8  
Old Jun 11, '04, 2:53 pm
MiddleBear MiddleBear is offline
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Default Re: Labyrinth Prayer Walks?

Let me present this data, and then pose a few questions for thought.

The only parish that I ever saw with a labyrinth outside has the following attributes:

1. Stations of the Cross consist of a generic metallic cross up on the wall at each station, (no wooden cross with sculpted figures or relief) but the station number on the floor (actually as a tile) resulting in that everybody walks on the number, (how disrespectful!) during normal entry and departure from the church.
2. No Saints in the stained glass, but instead has a generic "fire motif". And of course no statues anywhere else in the church.
3. No crucifix. But does have an abstract mobile cross (metallic segments and of course no corpus) hanging from the center of the church. At mass no corpus is present.
4. No kneelers and of course no one kneels during any portion of the Mass
5. Tabernacle is located off to the side out of the way, not in sight. Out of habit, some unsuspecting Catholics still genuflect, but toward the alter (with no tabernacle in proximity), thus not toward the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle. Recall that we genuflect to profess our understanding and faith of the Real Presence.

I can go on with more data.

Now ask yourself the following:

How Catholic is this spirituality?

How Christian is this spirituality?

Then ask yourself

How Catholic is a labyrinth?
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  #9  
Old Jun 13, '04, 1:19 am
Veronica Anne Veronica Anne is offline
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Default Re: Labyrinth Prayer Walks?

I've walked a labyrinth several times. Mostly at the local Episcopal cathedral where they have an entire room with the large labyrinth in hardwood on the floor, small votive candles along the perimeter... and scarves available for picking up at any point to carry with you as you walk along, if you'd like to do that. And soft instrumental music. And the room half-darkened, but not too much.

Once, I walked on a large labyrinth cloth that had been put down in a large room at a Catholic retreat center.

Each time, I used it as a prayer method. Each time I chose a line from either the Hebrew Scriptures or the Gospel to repeat to myself as I walked the labyrinth and meditated on that line from Scripture.

Each time, I experienced God very deeply and in a positive way.

Very, very reassuring. And safe.

I think of it as a model of my life's journey... having twists and turns and going one way at one point and at another point all of a sudden going the other way.

Very much the model of Good and Evil in my life.

Once I went through it as fast as I could.

Once I went through it as slowly as I could.

Once I even crossed across the paths directly across the labyrinth instead of following the path in front of me.

Once or twice, I just had to stop and stand still where-ever I was to let it all sink in.

Which is a GOOD thing for me... I tend to run through life, anyway.

At NO point did I ever feel God further away from me than when I was standing outside the first step onto the labyrinth. In other words, the walking the labyrinth did NOT take me away from God.

Far from it!

Each time, once I took my first step I just relaxed into God's presence to me.

Grace Cathedral (the Episcopal Cathedral) in San Francisco has a labyrinth in the Chartes Cathedral pattern.

http://www.gracecathedral.org/labyri...or/index.shtml

There, you can click on a large navy blue rectangle under the wordds "Online Finger Meditation Tool" at the top of this Web page and use your mouse to "walk" the online, interactive labyrinth just to sense what the experience is like... what the rhythm is like. With or without music. With or without text to describe what you're doing at each part.

http://www.gracecathedral.org/labyri...s/index.shtml#

A nun friend of mine has walked labyrinth many times, too. The labyrinth that she walked was wood on the floor at a Catholic retreat center. She advises that it's a method of prayer that not everybody enjoys, but not to worry because God is with you at all times, anyway.

There's a picture of an out-door labyrinth here:

http://www.snc.edu/norbertines/labyrinth.html

Last edited by Veronica Anne; Jun 13, '04 at 1:30 am. Reason: completion
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  #10  
Old Jun 13, '04, 12:04 pm
Veronica Anne Veronica Anne is offline
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Default Re: Labyrinth Prayer Walks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thann
One parish, for instance, has an "Autumn Solstice Prayer Walk with Bowls and Candles" ... I have no idea what that means, but it sounds just like Wicca.

'thann
Well, I don't know much about Wicca other than the Wicca-ite I've met says that it is repecting nature.

That title "Autumn Solstice Prayer Walk with Bowls and Candles" though, sounds definitely New Age to me!

The labyrinth, itself, is not a non-Christian thing. It's how you use it.

Hope this helps?

Please see my post elsewhere in this thread about my having walked the labyrinth several times.
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  #11  
Old Jun 14, '04, 9:23 am
maxk maxk is offline
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Default Re: Labyrinth Prayer Walks?

Did y'all know that many Eastern religions use prayer beads?
Does this make praying the Rosary non-Catholic?

Of course not. Walking a labyrinth is simply a method of concentrating while in meditation. What matters is the topic of meditation, not the method being used.

Now, having said that, I think that what is at work here is what I refer to as "the cult of the new", whereby Catholics are abandoning methods that have been successfully used for centuries (or millenia) in favor of anything that seems new or fresh. If walking in a pattern helps one to focus on Christ's life, why not walk the stations? If Catholics desire a woman role model for Christianity, why not focus on Mary instead of "Sophia" or M. Magdalene? If you are in need of healing, why not go to confession or practice Friday abstinence instead of watch Dr. Phil?
I think that when we abandon our rich cultural heritage in favor of anything new, we are losing much more than the sum of the individual practices. We are losing the glue that holds us all together as a UNIVERSAL Church. Individual changes are not bad in themselves since we have always had change in the Church, but the way we seem to be throwing away so many things at the same time is more destructive than normal development.
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  #12  
Old Jun 14, '04, 9:46 am
Stylteralmaldo Stylteralmaldo is offline
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Default Re: Labyrinth Prayer Walks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxk
Did y'all know that many Eastern religions use prayer beads?
Does this make praying the Rosary non-Catholic?

...Walking a labyrinth is simply a method of concentrating while in meditation. What matters is the topic of meditation, not the method being used.

...Individual changes are not bad in themselves...
This is a good point. Meditation on the rosary was developed throughout the centuries. We need to keep in mind the difference between tradition and Sacrad Tradition. Here's a chonology of the rosary:

http://www.rosaryworkshop.com/HISTORYjournalingBead.htm

I pray the rosary and walk the stations and I believe it is good for the soul. The labyrinth walk is another form of walking with God.

I disagree with the "new age" reference since it is an ancient practice. Although I don't doubt that "new agers" are trying to "stir things up" by daring to be different.
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Today, I want to be transformed, whole and entire, into the love of Jesus and to offer myself, together with Him, to the Heavenly Father. - St. Faustina Kowalska

When the Lord places you somewhere and you agree to do something he has asked you to do, you are happy. - Pope Francis
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  #13  
Old Jun 14, '04, 10:11 am
maxk maxk is offline
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Default Re: Labyrinth Prayer Walks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stylteralmaldo
I pray the rosary and walk the stations and I believe it is good for the soul. The labyrinth walk is another form of walking with God.

I disagree with the "new age" reference since it is an ancient practice. Although I don't doubt that "new agers" are trying to "stir things up" by daring to be different.
Yes. We need to seperate an individual's actions from what we see happening in the Church in the Western world. It is a very bad, destructive thing that so many traditions (small 't') are being abandoned. Even so, it is very possible that an individual can use this method in a very legitimate, fruitful way.
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