Spiritual Warfare Forum: Labyrinths
Labryinths QUESTION from Don Jones August 13, 2001 There is a renewed interest in medievel labryinths as found in some ancient European cathedrals, eg. Chartres. Some North American Roman Catholic and Anglican parishes are now building labryinths for the use of parishoners to prayerfully walk the labryinth. I noticed from viewing labryinth web sites that there is also heavy new age involvement in this subject--sometimes even within the framework of churches. Should Christians be involved in this pursuit? Are labryinths a legitimate tool for Christians to use for prayer and meditation? I would appreciate whatever insight you can give me on this
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on August 19, 2001 Dear Mr. Jones:
Yes, the renewed interest in Labyrinths is MOSTLY new age garbage. Unfortunately many of the parishes that are getting into this movement are not very careful about it and are promoting new age occultism and other things not Catholic.
Labyrinths can be useful if proper catechesis is done. For example:
Labyrinths have NO power of healing or any other power, explicit or implicit. It is just a sidewalk.
Labyrinths do NOT tap into the power of the universe like an antenna or have any other mystical power or significance.
Labyrinths can be helpful in that walking the Labyrinths requires a person to slow down. Usually they cannot be walked quickly without getting off track. They may be useful in getting a person to stop and smell the roses and to be still and know that God is God.
Walking through the woods, a bike path, a hiking trail can do the EXACT same thing as a labyrinth does. All the Labryinth is suppose to do is provide a disciplined pathway for a person to take a contemplative walk -- slowing, meditatively. Frankly, the only ones who might need a labryinth are those who cannot or will not take a walk through the woods or hiking trail for whatever reasons (such as not being an outdoor person, living in the inner city, not able to get away to the woods often enough, etc.), or those lacking in self-discipline and need a disciplined guide.
If the labyrinth is kept in proper perspective -- seen as only a means to aid in taking a contemplative walk -- then they can be useful. If anything else is put into it, some sort of power, spirit, mysticism, or whatnot, then we are engaging in superstition which is condemned by the Church.
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