Preparing To Enter

The Chartres Cathedral is visible from miles. The first glimpse of it is often a very memorable and cherished moment for pilgrims.

Preparing before entering the pilgrimage site helps pilgrims to be receptive to God’s invitations once they cross the threshold.

West facade of Chartres Cathedral by photographer Jill Geoffrion

As you prepare to enter the Chartres Cathedral, take several minutes to consider these questions from Praying the Chartres Labyrinth: A Pilgrim’s Guidebook (Cincinnati: Pilgrim Press, 2006). If it feels right, write the answers in your pilgrimage journal.

What does it feel like in Chartres?
How many different ways can I answer the question, “Why have I come?”
What fears would I like to release now that I am arriving at a place that supports change?
What stories have I been telling myself about this pilgrimage?
What emotions have I not felt on my journey thus far?
How are my expectations changing?

Walk around the outside of the cathedral before going in.
 You have arrived, but you are also in the process of arriving. Many religious traditions encourage the practice of circling a holy site before entering it. Orient yourself by slowly walking around the outside of the cathedral.

Now that you are prepared, it is time to enter.

West portal of the Chartres Cathedral open by photographer Jill Geoffrion

Entering the cathedral through the central portal in the west

A Ritual of Release may help you as you transition from the outside to the inside of the cathedral.