Liminal Space and the Garden of Gethsemane

Over at People for Others Blog today there was a post dealing with the idea of  Liminal Spaces. My previous two posts also deal with this and it is such a rich theme that I could probably spend the rest of Lent writing on it !!


If you are Irish you are probably familiar with the Celtic notion of “thin places”where the liminality or being on the threshold between experience/space is thin.

We all hold some places as especially sacred, as ‘thin places’, where there is barely a dividing line, just a thin membrane, between the spiritual world and the material world. A liminal space is one where we are never in control .It is very much the Ignatian way to seek and find God in all things  and Ignatian spirituality works on the belief that God is already present in our world and that we just have to give up our illusion of control to make contact.

The old Celtic notion of a “thin place” was a place where it was possible to touch and be touched by God as well as the angels, the saints, and those who have died.

Fr. Ronald Rolheiser and Fr. Richard Rohr are both excellent writers and inspirational speakers who have written about liminality and spiritual experience.

Click here for an article from Ronald Rolheiser entitled "Gethsemane as a Liminal Space" . It first appeared as part of a series of Lenten Reflections in 2006.

Although it may be a little too early in the cycle of Lent for some, it has so much to offer so it will do no harm to post it here and repost it again during Holy Week. In it Fr.Rolheiser has this to say :

"The Garden of Gethsemane is, among other things, "liminal space". What is this? 

Anthropologists use that expression to refer to special times in our lives when our normal situation is so uprooted so that it is possible precisely to plant new roots and take up life in a whole new way. That's usually brought about by a major crisis, one that shakes us in the very roots of our being. Gethsemane was that for Jesus."


 Click here to read  Fr. Richard Rohr's take on liminal space from article in 2002; also as part of a series of Lenten reflections.

The painting is From Christ's Agony in The Garden of Gethsemane by James Tissot


2 comments:

claire said...

Dear Phil,
Your blog is getting more and more fantastic!
Thank you for so much great stuff!

Philomena Ewing said...

Hi Claire,

Thank you for these encouraging comments.

It inspires me to stick with what I am trying to do. ( Most of the time I feel as if I am fishing in the dark).
Godbless You !!
Phil