Sheila Kunzweiler of Dayton, OH, USA
For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. -Romans 14:17
In the middle of a field of wild flowers, a labyrinth had been mapped out and created at Bergamo Retreat Center. I took my spiritual formation group on a field trip to this labyrinth a few Wednesdays ago so we could put into practice the actual walk. It was so quiet and peaceful walking the labyrinth. The sky was beginning to turn red, and the bees and butterflies were busily flying about from plant to plant as if in an attempt to finish their work before day’s end. The birds were singing praises, happy we had chosen to set aside time for this sojourn through God’s house. As I walked, I found myself exclaiming, “How I love what you’ve done with this room!”
Six of us dedicated pilgrims walked this labyrinth mowed into a field of wildflowers with plants towering overhead on either side. Sometimes, the growth was so thick you felt as if you were journeying alone. Then, all of a sudden, there would be a splash of color as a fellow pilgrim passed by to the right or the left only to disappear into the thickness of growth once again. I felt a kinship with each one being on the path together, each one going at his or her own pace. I felt a deep contentment at this realization. The frantic lifestyle I tend to live quietly dissolved in that present, quiet moment of journeying together. We couldn’t always see each other, but I knew I was not on the path alone, and that greatly comforted me.
As ones finished their walk, they gathered around the outside of the labyrinth and held those who were still on the intentional path in prayer. Occasionally I would look up to witness this, and my heart filled with such love and gratitude for each one. They were praying for me, and I found myself sending a prayer back floating on the gentle breeze that cooled my countenance.
The labyrinth walk reminded me that I am the only one who can decide to take the steps to go deeper in my faith walk with God, but it also reminded me that I do not walk alone. I envision countless pilgrims walking alongside me in support-a splash of color here and then gone again-as reminder that I am in good company. Pilgrims, both visible and invisible, ones who are with me now as well as those who have gone before, walk with me along and around the path cheering me on to the finish line of a race well run. It is so for us all.
“The glory of God is the human person fully alive” (St. Irenaeus).
Enter a time of prayer and hold St. Irenaeus’ quote in your heart. How do your mind, body, heart, and soul work together for your aliveness in God each day? What does it mean in your life and ministry that God desires for each of us to be fully alive?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.