Raf and I had a fun adventure this past weekend. We visited The Grotto. I am not sure how to begin describing this place. It is very Catholic. Full of very stern, and sometimes disturbing, statues of Saints and angels. You could even buy a statue, if you are so inclined. Did you know that you can BUY holy water? I had no idea (Incidentally, when I Instagrammed this photo of the holy water my upload FAILED three times before I was successful. The Lord didn’t like me making fun of the gift shop selling His holy water.)
The highlight of the visit was the labyrinth. I’d always wanted to walk one and it proved to be as meditative as I’d always heard.
Actually, the whole place was beautiful. And, indeed, very meditative. I lost myself on the winding path that lead through the gardens and found it very relaxing. As I wandered through I felt a very calm, peaceful presence. Was it the Holy Spirit? Maybe it was.
I was reminded, again, of my connection to Catholicism. I was raised Catholic and though I don’t call myself Catholic anymore I do still feel a connection to it. Being around the symbolism makes me feel a little bit at home. I was reminded of the similarities between the ritual in Zen Buddhism and the ritual of Catholicism. A few weeks ago I visited Portland’s Japanese Gardens, which is rife with Zen symbolism. In fact, the two places were so similar that it reminds me that we are all striving for the same thing, essentially. We are all rowing the same boat.
This past week I have been thinking a lot about Buddhism’s first noble truth: Life is suffering. Could Christians and Catholics realize this truth through the death of Christ on the cross? I wonder.