April 21 - Chartres

Chartres

Escaping Parisian traffic we headed for Chartres Cathedral which is most famous for its stained glass windows. Joan and I didn’t know about the windows but we knew about the labyrinth.  We were lucky in that on Fridays the labyrinth is uncovered.  Most of the week, the area is covered in chairs for Mass.

The windows were beautiful with deep blues and bright colors.  Stained glass windows were often the way Catholics passed down the stories of our faith.  Windows, as our guide told us, were like the modern day comic books.  At Chartres you could read the story of the birth of Jesus, the last supper, the feeding of the 5,000 and more, all without words.  I had difficulty getting good shots with my camera as the angles and the distances (they were quite tall) so you may need to go on line to see better ones.  Chartres Cathedral is also quite ancient with various portions stretching back to Roman times. 

Labyrinths go back to ancient Greece. For Christians they became a tool for contemplation and reflection modeling at various times the spiritual life, a spiritual journey or even our corporal life.  Labyrinths come in various styles and patterns.  The paths general weave back and forth, in and out, until it ends in the center.  They often quickly move toward the center, a conversion experience, but then pull away twisting tediously back and forth, we have to rely on our memory of our goal it is out of sight.  We pull close again a flash of heaven and then pull away again. 

Labyrinths can even serve as a model of pilgrimage. I, perhaps, am on one of the outward bound loops, pulling away from the center of my pilgrimage.  After the serendipity of yesterday there have been no new insights or clues to refine my intentions nor a discernment of a fuller response.

Take a pencil or your finger and trace the labyrinth.  How has your life of faith moved?

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