Contemplative and Spiritual Practices

The world today thirsts for spirituality. The rapid changes of the modern world and its accelerated pace calls for pause in our daily lives. Contemplative practices are concrete and specific ways in which we can make a pause for our spiritual well-being. They are intentional actions that give practical purpose to faith and meaning.
Most religions in the world teach about the human capacity for transcendence we all have; a space for the spiritual and a longing for communion with the sacred. From a religious perspective, spiritual contemplative practices are inspired by a sense of our relatedness to God, others, and creation. They also open ourselves to the dynamic activity of God’s grace, moving us to a deeper relational life and spiritual growth.
Although the labyrinth predates Christianity, it has been used by Christians for centuries, the most famous design being the eleven-circuit labyrinth with rosette center laid in the floor at Chartres Cathedral near Paris, which dates to about 1200.
Like other meditation practices, walking the labyrinth offers us a way to quiet ourselves in order to center and listen to the inner voice of God. The intrinsic circles offer a path inner depth where we can invite God in.
“Life has a way of disrupting our inner peace and sense of direction. But walking the labyrinth remains a time-honored way to slow down and encounter God. With the labyrinth, everything operates on the level of metaphor. The path symbolizes our life’s journey. The circle represents wholeness, and the design leads us to our center. The labyrinth’s twists and turns feel like the twists and turns of our lives. And when we walk it with other people, we are reminded that no one makes this journey alone.”
(Excerpt from Labyrinth: Walking a Prayerful Path by Heidi Schlumpf, managing editor at U.S. Catholic magazine.)