Outside view of the Convent
Sunday I took my two oldest sons to Family Day at the Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Indiana. My Aunt, who is in her 60s, has been part of the community there since she was 18.
It’s pretty cool walking around such a place. I’ve taken my sons to St. Meinrad and we’ve snuck around, but yesterday we had a tour from a lady that has lived in and even had cleaning duty on almost every part of the place except the catwalk on the roof (she said she wants to get up there sometime before she gets too old to climb the stairs or balance up there!)
There were two things that stuck out
the most to my kids, and they really are the coolest things of our day there. The Monastery was built in 1915 (we found the cornerstone) and you can see pictures of that here. As we walked up to the church, we noticed a large circular window on the side, and 4 tiny square statues around it. After a closer look, I noticed that they are the four creatures mentioned in Rev. 4.
Around that circular window, you’ll see the heads of the four creatures from Revelation 4
Four creatures, one with a head like an eagle, one with a head like a man, one with a head like a bull, and one with a head like a lion. For some reason my boys think that part is super cool and draw those creatures sometimes, so that was pretty exciting. My oldest said seeing those was his favorite part of the day!
When we got inside the church after lunch and some games, we noticed something even more cool. That window that the four creatures were around? It was a stained glass window showing Jesus seated on the throne. That made the whole thing even more complete. To the outside world, they were just weird creatures, but when you’re inside the church, you can see that they are eternal continual worshipers of the King.
my favorite parts happened inside the church. Just inside the door, is a big marble bowl full of holy water. People in the catholic tradition have water at each entrance to the church, and when you go in the door, you dip your fingertips into the water, and then make the sign of the cross. This is a way to reflect and remember your baptism.
Note me all excited & pointing things out, and Davo chowing on a roll he stole as we passed through the kitchen.
I explained that to my boys. They were confused because the baptistry they are used to seeing is at Crossroads. It’s an indoor pool that could hold about 5 people! We’ve even seen a guy float in it with an air mattress and a cigar! But I digress. So I start talking to my mom and what does Sister Jane do? She gets her hands wet and flicks Isaac right in the face! You gotta love that. Water fight in the sanctuary! I’m just glad Isaac didn’t retaliate with a hearty YMCA splash.
We walked all around, checked out the serious pipes on the organ and the whole upstairs. We stood within inches of the ropes connected to the bells and resisted the urge to pull and bring the whole city up the hill. We walked up and down some of the turrets outside, down a hill where we heard about the real tunnel that is on the hill, and then ended up at the Labyrinth.
The details on the Labyrinth can be found here. When I read this, I thought, “this is weird. What kind of over-emphasis on spirituality and diversion from the Gospel have they gotten into!” [my fellow Bible Attack League members do refer to me as Zealboy] Then I realized that walking while praying has been a HUGE part of my life! The #1 thing that I do when I have a lot to pray about is go for a walk! So my prayer labyrinth is a rectangle around my park, or a big labyrinth through the hoodâ€“and the prayer labyrinth of the sisters is mowed in the grass of their hillside.
My boys kept calling it a maze and Aunt Jane corrected us.
“A maze is full of choices about which way you should go. A labyrinth just has one path.”
How about that! So the only decision you have to make is: will you step into the labyrinth?!
Is he praying in the middle? No, he's playing with an inch worm.
We had a great time running or walking around the path, and we did alter the rules a little bit. We didn’t pray, we played. And the soothing wind chimes in the center served as our victory bell that we rang when we got to the middle. (It took about 8 minutes at a brisk walk to get there.)
The coolest part was on the drive home, and my oldest son told me why the labyrinth was his 2nd favorite part of the day.
Dad, that labyrinth was kind of like life. You can make all kinds of choices and cut across the lines and get to the middle, and you think there are all kinds of ways to get to the middle, but they are wrong. And there are all kinds of people going to the middle all kinds of ways, but they arenâ€™t getting there right. There is only one way, and when you take that one right way, you get to the middle, and you know you did it right!
Pretty cool. If there is one thing Iâ€™ve learned from reading the Gospel of John, itâ€™s that Jesus is indeed the Way. Heâ€™s gone ahead of us to make the way, and He also became the Way.
All you have to do is decide if you’ll step into the Path.