While walking the labyrinth, I can see the images that relate to a thirteenth century miracle play. In it, a priest named Theophilus sells his soul to the devil in exchange for becoming a bishop. Later, realizing how big a mistake he has made, he asks for Mary’s help.
After delivering a severe rebuke to Theophilus, Mary goes to the Devil and retrieves the document he signed in blood.
Upon waking and finding the document on his chest, Theophilus confessed his sin to another bishop, and then died of relief and joy!
Stories of mistakes, repentance, forgiveness, and freedom bring courage when the way seems convoluted, long, and difficult. What a joy to walk in the forgiving light of God.
God, you know the ways that I forsake you. I am sorry. I thank You for your patience and forgiveness. I am grateful for freedom from the past. Thank you that I can once again walk in joy.
God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
God will not always accuse, nor will God keep God’s anger forever.
God does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is God’s steadfast love toward those who fear God;
as far as the east is from the west, so far God removes our transgressions from us.
As a parent has compassion for his/her children, so God has compassion for those who fear God.
For God knows how we were made; God remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:8-12 (NRSV)
Invitation to prayer
Identify one way you have betrayed God today. As you consider it, what prayers are emerging in your heart, mind, body, and imagination? Pray them now.
Photo and placement of this image in relationship to the labyrinth
Mary with Theophilus and Mary with the Devil (who is standing in the mouth of hell). These images are found towards the top of the Miracles of Mary window. Five depictions of Mary are found in this window.
This image is to the south and east of the labyrinth. The scene is found in the window that is to the left of the wooden pulpit on the right side of this image.
Related Posts: Other Images of Mary Visible from the Labyrinth in the Chartres Cathedral
To the east of the labyrinth:
The apsidal image of Mary as a throne for Jesus who is sitting on her lap blessing on the top of the East central window (above the choir).
The Annunciation of Jesus’ birth to Mary in the East central window (above the choir).
The Visitation of Mary and her cousin Elizabeth in the East central window (above the choir).
To the west of the labyrinth:
Mary in the Tree of Jesse (Ancestors of Jesus). Twelfth century window (1140-1150) on the north side of the west wall.
The Annunciation in The Life of Christ Window. Twelfth century window (1145-1155), the central window on the west wall.
The Visitation of Mary and Elizabeth in the Life of Christ Window.
The Nativity: Mary, Jesus and Joseph in the Life of Christ Window.
The Kings Visit Jesus and Mary in the life of Christ Window.
The Flight Into Egypt: Mary, Jesus and Joseph in the Life of Christ Window
The Return from Egypt: The Holy Family in the Life of Christ Window
Jesus blessing while sitting on Mary’s Lap in the Life of Christ Window
Mary standing below the cross of Jesus in the Passion and Resurrection Window (1145-1155), on the south side of the west wall.
Mary holding Jesus’ hands as his body is taken off the cross in the Passion and Resurrection Window.
Mary watching the anointing and entombment of Jesus in the Passion and Resurrection Window.
To the south of the labyrinth:
Nursing Mary and Jesus in a clerestory window (1205-1215) above the labyrinth.
Mary holding Jesus, a sculpture on the fifteenth century organ above the south nave.
The symbolic “shirt of Mary” on the Bishop’s pulpit (south side of the nave) above the labyrinth.
The flight from Israel to Egypt in the St. John window in the south aisle.
Mary’s death as witnessed by the mourning disciples. The death and glorification of Mary window (1205-1215) in the south aisle.
Mary’s soul being received by Jesus. The death and glorification of Mary window.
Mary’s casket being carried by the disciples to its resting place. The death and glorification of Mary window.
The entombment of Mary’s body by the disciples. The death and glorification of Mary window.
The assumption of Mary into Heaven. The death and glorification of Mary Window.
The crowning of Mary. The death and glorification of Mary window.
Mary’s coronation. The Vendôme Chapel window (1415) in the south aisle.
Mary with other mourners near the cross of Jesus. The Vendôme Chapel window.
Mary honoring Christ at the end of time. The Vendôme Chapel window.