Praying with Mandalas: Journeying into God

11previewSr. Mara Bellutta, sfp12

Thanks to the Congregational Calendar theme during the month of April, we had the opportunity to experiment with and venture into the art of mandalas.

My experience with mandalas began during some spiritual exercises a few years ago. At the time I did not know what a mandala was. I had made a drawing that was vaguely shaped like a circle and tossed it away almost immediately – this sketch seemed ugly and a waste of time.

I went through a particularly difficult time during the following year. I remembered my experience with the mandala, and decided to try again. I knew that focusing on coloring would relax me tremendously. Though I could not find any answers, I felt inside that peace and order would emerge from the chaos and confusion. For a little while it was simply a way to relax and make some time for myself. What surprised me is that the mandalas I was coloring were always beautiful, and I liked them.


Then I began to conclude my personal prayer and meditation on the Word by coloring a mandala and a verse that particularly moved me. I would display it in my room, letting the shapes and colors be a visible expression of my relationship with God.

During this time I used the mandalas only intermittently. Yet by continuing to deepen this meditation technique, I discovered the importance of making space for my meditation as frequently as possible.

16After a few months, I realized the benefits of using this tool with continuity. By coloring the mandalas, a sentence would emerge and return to me, a word or phrase that apparently had no link to what I was doing or living: usually a word from the Scriptures. It felt as if several times the Holy Spirit was moving me toward passages from Chapter 17 of St. John’s Gospel, “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one . . . ” and again “. . . so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

The mandala, the circle and symbol of perfection, sends me back to unity with myself and God. It calls me anew to set out on a journey back to Him, who is the Father. For me this has been a very important experience. It seems like it has been revealed to me that my heart’s profound need and desire is to walk toward “being one thing only with and in God.” Today this type of meditation helps me stop and look at myself and offer what I experience to God’s benevolent gaze.

Sr. Mara Bellutta, sfp

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