Pearls of Life walk at Linköping Cathedral
Updated: Dec 29, 2021
Linköping Cathedral features an installation of the Pearls of Life around the perimeter of the church's interior. Hand-blown glass Pearls are set into the ancient stone floor. Inga Johansson, in her blog, shared photos, adding her own understanding of the Pearls. Enjoy this virtual contemplative walk, courtesy of Inga. (Translation of the Swedish is approximate, courtesy of Google Translate.)
Show me the way and make me willing to walk it.
Begin the walk with the well-known prayer of Saint Birgitta.
THE GOD PEARL
You are infinite. You are near. You are light, and I am yours.
Here you can stop and meditate on the secret of existence. God is both mystery, closeness and goodness, it tells us.
FIRST PEARL OF SILENCE
In God's still, wordless silence
Six of the pearls are pearls of silence. The first is called Love's Attention. We turn our attention to God.
THE I PEARL
Children of heaven and earth
The next pearl is the smaller white Jag pearl. Here we can think of ourselves as children of both heaven and earth.
THE BAPTISM PEARL
I am a drop in the ocean of God
It should remind us of our own baptism, that we are a blessed drop in the great sea of God, a pearl in the pearl of heaven.
SECOND PEARL OF SILENCE
Exhale dark, breathe in light
Then comes a pearl of silence, also called the Well of Grace. Here one can silently think of God's grace towards us.
THE DESERT PEARL
Clean me, heal me. Kyrie eleison.
After baptism, like Jesus, we are taken out into the wilderness to be tested.
THIRD PEARL OF SILENCE
Exhale loneliness, inhale closeness
If the desert means emptiness and loneliness, then the next pearl of silence wants to show the nearness of God. It's also called Think of Me.
THE SERENITY PEARL
Each day has enough trouble of its own
The blue pearl takes us to the mountain of Beatitudes where the words that stand by the pearl were uttered. It is about resting in God's peace. The blue color is the color of the sky, but also the color of Mary's mantle as it is depicted in pictures and paintings. She did not worry about her situation when the angel gave her the message that she would carry the Son of God, but she rested in God's peace and trusted in his care.
FOURTH PEARL OF SILENCE
Exhale arrogance, breathe in humility
The next pearl of silence also talks about it. It is called the tenderness of care.
FIRST PEARL OF LOVE
Ave crux. Ave spes unica.
(Hail to the cross. Hail to our only hope.)
The two pearls thereafter are both red, Love's two pearls. The first is called the heart of God and is about God's love for us.
SECOND LOVE PEARL
Let me be one heart for someone
The other Pearl of Love is also called the Break of Bread. It's about our love for other people. It's about sharing.
FIRST MYSTERY PEARL
To Ouranio Mustiko (Greek)
Initially, all three were small white pearls, but now the first is green to remind us of God's miracles in nature, of the Earth as our home to manage. The pearl is also called Heavenly Secret. The name is in Greek.
SECOND MYSTERY PEARL
Mia mustike euxe (Greek)
The other Secret Pearl is called Secret Desire. God knows everything we want, everything we long for.
THIRD MYSTERY PEARL
God remember, do not forget them
The last of the secret gems is about not forgetting. It is about seeing those who no one else sees, those who do not harden, who cannot believe and hope. God does not forget them. We must not do that either.
THE NIGHT PEARL
Be with me
It tells of difficulties and crises, of the sorrows of life. As I sat there by it and glanced back at the children's altar, the thought struck me that one of the heaviest sorrows in life must be losing a child, but even in the difficult situation, God is with us.
FIFTH PEARL OF SILENCE
I remain in still waiting
After the night we wait for dawn. We are waiting for the light. We can not hurry to dawn. We can only wait for it to come. So it is with the black night of life. We can only wait for it to brighten.
THE RESURRECTION PEARL
Come with joy to sing about life
The pearl of the resurrection comes after dawn. It's the sunrise we've been waiting for. It points to the resurrection of Jesus but also to the hope of life after this, the hope of heaven, the goal of the pilgrimage.
SIXTH PEARL OF SILENCE
Beautiful is God's heaven
The last pearl is a pearl of silence, called the lookout point of Hope. We know the goal, but we are not there yet.
The walk ends as it began with a bronze plaque, on which there is a prayer with which you can end your walk before moving back into life.
As the sun shines during the day and makes the earth smell, as the moon shines during the night and makes the waters sparkle, so be God with you. Amen.