[The following blog post was first given as a brief introduction to Palazzo Verdi, the site of our 2015 Women, Work & Calling Event. Two elements of the venue – the Chardin Chandelier and the replica of the prayer labyrinth at the Chartres Cathedral in France – tied in directly to our theme that evening: hearing the call of God.]
“Oh the beauty of spirit as it rises up adorned with all the riches of the earth!” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Catholic priest, wrote this in his book the Hymn of the Universe. Indeed, the entire creation is singing with the beauty of God. From Mars to parking meters, from the Himalayas to high school soccer practices, the glory of God is present. With us. Here. Now.
This is the Chandelier Chardin, created by Lonnie Hanzon and brought to Palazzo Verdi in 2008. I look at this, and I think: “Just look up! And we will see His beauty in all of his creation and in the everyday if we only look up! And he and my spirit will rise to His!”
But as I look up, I think to myself, “Why can’t I see his beauty most days? Many days I’m caught between an un-ending inbox of emails, meetings, and trips in the mini-van. I live not in heaven, but on earth! Where is heaven between the dirty dishes and the office?
What is the solution?
“Solvitur ambulando. It is solved by walking.” Augustine said this. And it is by walking that the sorrows of pilgrims through the ages have been solved.
You are now sitting on the Chartres Labyrinth, a recreation of the 13th century Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth in France.
The Middle Ages was a time of pilgrimage. The destination would often be Jerusalem, considered at that time the Center of the World, symbolizing the Kingdom of Heaven. Yet many poor pilgrims, pilgrims like ourselves, could not afford to go to Jerusalem. Maybe they too had to clean the kitchen for the fourth time that day.
So they made a pilgrimage to cathedrals – like the Cathedral at Chartres. Inside the cathedral was a prayer labyrinth, forty feet across, in the nave of the church. Once at Chartres, they walked. They walked the prayer labyrinth, and brought their heart, the questions, the joys and sorrows until they reached the center. Heaven. Where God is.
And they would retrace their steps as they left, once again to enter the “outside world.” Where perhaps heaven might follow.
What draws us here tonight, for an event on women, work and calling? Each of us has a question. What is the answer?
How shall we hear the voice of the Caller?
“It is solved on pilgrimage. It is solved by walking.”