Journey and Unravelling

Here is the third collage and transcript: the theme of ‘Journey and Unravelling’ has been taken from the group’s discussion.

Thanks to Sister Lizzie Ruth who heard our stories and could see the journey being mapped out that we were talking about. We acknowledged how we had changed throughout the path and how people were contributing to our journey, many of them sisters, fellow oblates, but also people obscured from our paths that had set a seed that would send us on our way. We saw the convent, or the community, not so much as a set of walls to contain us but crash barriers which I think was a wonderful way to put it, not so a scaffold, but something to make sure that our journey would go in God’s direction. And I recalled from them, years and years ago a snippet on the radio of a passage by Teilhard de Chardin. Which came at a time not long after my father had died and it helped me to understand how there was an unravelling of the things which kept us together and there was a release. So, along this journey of us developing in, Sister Lizzie Ruth put the thread on. Here we have that final moment when we become our true selves and all those bits and pieces that ache or keep us disturbed can be unravelled gently by God and we become our true nature. But this community has enabled this to happen for so many of us.

Meditations and Activities

Finger Labyrinths

Finger labyrinths are mini versions of those found at a Cathedral or retreat house, including CSMV. They are a “walking” meditation used for personal, spiritual transformation, and evoke metaphor, sacred geometry, spiritual pilgrimage, religious practice, and mindfulness. The group’s transcript referred to the Convent and community as “crash barriers”, and I think the outline of the labyrinth symbolises this.

Consider printing the finger labyrinth included, and using it to help you focus on the three reflections on the themes of journey and unravelling below, allowing God to guide the journey.

More information can be found in the following links.

Labyrinth Society

Finger Labyrinths

Reflection 1: New Year’s Guided Meditation – Journey 2024

Watch the video.

Transcript of the video:

“Welcome to this New Year’s Meditation. Whether you find yourself grateful for the blessings of the past year, frustrated by or dreading a future situation, or hoping for something better to come in the next year, this meditation is for you. Although we tend to classify events in our lives as “good” or “bad”, God intends every circumstance of our lives for our good. Let’s open our hearts to see our lives from God’s perspective and look to him for guidance for the year to come.

Close your eyes and focus on the rise and fall of your stomach, noticing as your breathe slows and deepens. If you notice your focus drifting from the steady rhythm of your breathing, just calmly redirect your attention back to your breath. Continue this for the next several seconds. Psalm 103:2 urges us to bless God and to not forget his benefits. James 1:17 reminds us that every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the Heavenly Lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. What gifts and blessings from this past year do you want to express gratitude for? Consider this for the next minute or so. As you consider what is in store for you in the coming year, take comfort in the words of the prophet Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Imagine that this year is a giant present from God, large enough to fill a small room. What does the wrapping look like? What surprises, blessings, and lessons might be inside? Now, begin to open the box. Feel the surface of the box–is it rough or smooth? It takes you several minutes to open it, as the box is quite large. Finally, you are able to push the flaps aside. You are astonished to find hundreds of small boxes within, one for every day of the coming year. You pick up one of the boxes and sit silently, holding it in your hands. Sit for the next minute or so and express your gratitude to your Heavenly Father, who gives you good and perfect gifts and who will walk by your side as you journey through this coming year. It is time to draw our meditation to a close. Would you pray with me? Heavenly Father, as we enter into this new year, be with us as we seek to do your will and help us to recognize the many blessings that come from you each day. Thank you for being a God who loves us and whose plans for us are better than anything we could dream of for ourselves. Amen”

Reflection 2: Unravelling with God

Read the full text here, credit Zion People

“Something beautiful happens when we realise that God wants us to sit before Him with our messy minds, and our messy hearts, and our messy emotions and our make-no-sense thoughts.

There is something to be said for the nimble way that Holy Spirit unpicks and untangles each thought and emotion and memory from the other. The way that He knows exactly how to pull at a thread until it is freed from the knot will always far surpass my understanding and comprehension. It is always gentle, never more than we can handle. It is always at the right time and it is always by invitation.

Time spent before the Father, Him slowly but surely unravelling things that have sat in knots for years. Lies entangled with Truths, promises entangled with disappointments, failures entangled with successes…colours and lines blurred in one huge mess, unable to identify what was what anymore. 

Dear You,

It is safe to unravel before God. He doesn’t blink at the mess. No tangle too large, no knot too tight.  Let yourself come before Him, not just with your best, but with your mess. This is a personal invitation, from God, through me, for you.”

Reflection 3: When worlds unravel, God knits something new

Read the original text from Greg Mamula, 2014

Credit Church Publishing

“What do you do when the world you’ve known begins to unravel? A close friend of mine has said to me several times, “It might feel like things are unravelling, but at least we know who holds the string.” I didn’t fully grasp the implications of his statement until I thought about it in another way. My wife is an excellent crafter whose greatest gift lies in knitting. However, there are moments in some of her projects that things don’t look quite right and she has a couple options. The first is to “frog” the whole project by pulling on the end of the string until she is back to the casting-on point. The second option is to “tear back” to a spot where the stitches are correct and move on from there. There is a strange third option as well. Sometimes she really likes a particular yarn for its colour or texture that she had previously fashioned into a scarf or bag. Then one day she decides, “I think I want that to be socks!” When this happens, she finds the end, unravels the existing completed project that has served its purpose, sometimes even for years, and begins to turn it into something completely new.”

“This reminded me of Jeremiah 18:4-7, which states, “The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.” “Then the word of the Lord came to me,” Jeremiah continued, “‘Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done?’ says the Lord. ‘Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.’”

This verse speaks about a different medium than knitting, but the same principals apply. The image Jeremiah uses reveals that, as with my wife’s knitting, the project can be “frogged,” “torn back” or repurposed. My favourite image is that of taking something that has already served a wonderful purpose and reworking it into something completely new with the same yarn or clay. We will be reworked into another vessel that seems good to God for fulfilling God’s purposes in the world.”

Other Scriptures for Meditation, perhaps using Lectio Divina

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Psalm 23: 3 He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

Psalm 25:4 Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Luke 1:79 To shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

Creative Activities and Meditation

Make a Journey Stick

  • Make a ‘journey stick’ of your journey as an Oblate to date, adding to it this coming year. These are usually made when one goes for a walk but I think they could be made retrospectively, much in the same way as we made the collages. Essentially, choose your stick (it is important to get the stick right), and then add fabric, threads, feathers, leaves… whatever you wish. This website explains the concept well.
  • Another suggestion is to take the photo of this group’s collage, match the transcript statements to it, and then add your own words, drawings or, indeed more collage items to represent your own connections.

Music Meditation

The Lord’s My Shepherd – Stuart Townend

Watch the video.

The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want;
He makes me lie in pastures green.
He leads me by the still, still waters,
His goodness restores my soul.

And I will trust in You alone,
And I will trust in You alone,
For Your endless mercy follows me,
Your goodness will lead me home.

He guides my ways in righteousness,
And He anoints my head with oil,
And my cup, it overflows with joy,
I feast on His pure delights.

And though I walk the darkest path,
I will not fear the evil one,
For You are with me, and Your rod and staff
Are the comfort I need to know.