Another grace filled experience for the Redemptoristines brought great jubilation at the Monastery of St Alphonsus on Friday the 28th May 2010 when Sr Gabrielle Prioress, and the Community gave joyful thanks to God at the completion of the new extension, which includes three bedrooms, work room, Scriptorium, hermitage and a labyrinth.(read and understand more about our labyrinth below). Rev. Fr Michael Kelleher, C.Ss.R. Provincial of the Redemptorists blessed the new additions. The Builder Damien Delvin and Architect Sean O’Connor joined the Sisters for the blessing. The extension was necessitated due to the shortage of space in a growing community.
Sr Gabrielle planting the flower beds surrounding the labyrinth.
Monastery of St Alphonsus
The Road Ahead by Thomas Merton.
Thoughts in Solitude
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this
you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
Welcome to the Labyrinth
A labyrinth is an archetype with which we can have a direct experience. We can walk it. It is a metaphor for life’s journey. It is a symbol that creates a sacred space and place and takes us out of our ego to “That Which Is Within” leading us to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. In walking the labyrinth the walker meanders through each of the four quadrants several times before reaching the goal. An expectancy is created as to when the center will be reached. At the center is a design which symbolizes the Blessed Trinity: three Persons in one Godhead. The four arms of the cross are readily visible and also provide significant Christian symbolism. The Labyrinth therefore represents a journey to our own center where one discovers the Triune God and enables us to bring back the fruits of this encounter back out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.
“Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path… exactly where you are meant to be right now… And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love.”
Guidelines for WALK
Many find it helpful to sit for a few moments, clear the mind and become aware of the breath. Allow a little transition time from the outside world to the inner world. It may be helpful to journal your life noting concerns, questions, etc. Is there a specific question or focus for this walk? When you walk, allow yourself to find your own pace.
The labyrinth can be walked as a pilgrimage and/or for repentance. As a pilgrimage it is a questing, searching journey with the hope of becoming closer to God. When used for repentance the pilgrims can walk on their knees. Sometimes the labyrinth can serve as a substitute for an actual pilgrimage to Jerusalem and as a result is sometimes called the “Chemin de Jerusalem” or Road of Jerusalem.
The following suggestions can act as a guide. You can select an approach from each movement or create your own rhythm to each of the three stages of the walk.
Moving Inward or Purgation
A time to Cast off, Discard, Divest, Unwrap, Forget, Release, Let go, Empty.
· A time to shed thoughts and emotions and quiet the mind. Some may wish to use a sacred word or special image to enter the silence.
· Although one may enter the walk with a particular question or intention, the journey towards the center may be a time to set aside all the things we think we want and need, and open ourselves to find what God wants.
· Seek to become a child before God, empty, open, expectant.
· Reject any anxious desires or expectations about what “should” happen in the labyrinth. Simply walk in prayer, reflection, silence, allowing the walking itself to quiet and deepen your attentiveness.
Centering or Illumination
A place of meditation and prayer, a time to hear and receive what is there for you.
· Take time to listen to an inner voice or to silence or to mystery.
· Stay in the center as long as you wish, until you are satisfied. Consider the possibility of new images, insights, understandings, the miraculous, the transformative Spirit entering your life in a new way.
· Contemplate the blessing of the hidden nature of God who cannot be fully known, cannot be manipulated, cannot be made in an idol, pinned down, contained or tamed, yet is very simply, Love.
· Enjoy the silence, stillness, waiting and the simplicity of seemingly nothing happening.
Moving Outward or Union
Sensing oneness with God and becoming empowered into action, given new direction, satisfaction, comfort and new energy.
· The return journey empowers us to find and do the work you feel your soul reaching for. Oftentimes, there is a lighter step, a deep peace or joy, a sense of a simpler and more focused life.
· Rest in the knowledge of God’s unconditional love.
· Move away from anxiety toward peace and deeper faith and love.
… Be patient toward all that is unsolved. Do not seek the answers which cannot be given you, because you would not be able to live them. Live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
The hands that greet you when you enter the Hermitage is first Christ blessing and the other a welcoming hand.
The icons are written by the Sisters
The Icon of Christ was written by Sr Gabrielle, Prioress
Click on the link and read about how the Redemptoristines came to Ireland.