The massive rose windows of the medieval Gothic cathedrals were not only marvels of engineering and artistry; they were also symbols of the well-ordered soul.
The pilgrim coming to the cathedral for spiritual enlightenment would be encouraged to meditate upon the rose of light and color in order to be drawn into mystical conformity with it.
What would he or she see? At the center of every rose window is a depiction of Christ (even when Mary seems to be the focus, she is carrying the Christ child on her lap), and then wheeling around him in lyrical and harmonious patterns are the hundreds of medallions, each depicting a saint or a scene from scripture.
The message of the window is clear: When one's life is centered on Christ, all the energies, aspirations, and powers of the soul fall into a beautiful and satisfying pattern. And by implication, whenever something other than Christ -- money, sex, success, adulation -- fills the center, the soul falls into disharmony.
Jesus expressed this same idea when he said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and the rest will be given unto you" (Mt 6:33). When the divine is consciously acknowledged as the ground and organizing center of one's existence, something like wholeness or holiness is the result.
Don't live your life on the rim of the circle, but rather at the center. Focus on that reliable, unchanging point where Christ resides.
Bishop Robert Barron is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries. Learn more at www.WordOnFire.org