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The Forward Day by Day Archives

We've published links to the last few weeks' Forward Day by Day Meditations below. You can search for past meditations (from June 2012 and later), and filter them by keyword if you wish, using the search form.

Please note: Some of our archived meditations are currently unavailable. We are working on the problem and expect to have the Archives page fully operational again soon.

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  • THURSDAY, January 29

    “I want to see you as soon as you arrive,” read an email from the Bishop of Rio de Janeiro. We immediately concluded this meant work that would take us away from our primary mission of establishing a Franciscan house of prayer in the city. We needn’t have worried; he only wanted to welcome us ....
  • WEDNESDAY, January 28

    A colleague once told me she enrolled her four-year-old son in wrestling so the boy could be an arrow in God’s quiver. I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that, especially since I am not much of a wrestling fan. What’s so interesting about sweaty bodies rolling all over each other? God’s a....
  • TUESDAY, January 27

    How do you know when you are welcomed? During most of our missions in Brazil, the most we could hope for was the space—physical, temporal, and social—to do our work, or more precisely the work designated by the local community. But since we were not included in events outside our actual work, we....
  • MONDAY, January 26    The Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle (tr)

    I would write about my own conversion, but it seems so far away. Not only does it appear distant, like looking through the telescope the wrong way, but I no longer experience the powerful events that surrounded it, strong emotions, visions during daily meditation, and unexpected delicious scents.
  • SUNDAY, January 25    3 Epiphany

    This verse has always haunted me and now more than ever. Here’s why: A few weeks ago, while I was still in the U.S., the ancient photograph of my great-great-grandfather spontaneously crashed from its patriarchal perch above the mantle to the floor below. Landing facedown, the gilded frame and gla....
  • SATURDAY, January 24

    My mother and father are in their eighties, and my father is not well. My mother, a vivacious woman who likes to be out and about, is left alone to care for him. When I asked my mother if there was someone to help or offer support, she burst into tears.

    Mom and Dad are wel....

  • FRIDAY, January 23

    Dead! I blinked and took a second look because it couldn’t be possible. But it was. The flowers on the altar were completely dead. Did no one care? At this early Sunday morning liturgy, did I alone take notice? Wake up, I wanted to yell out. Instead I allowed an internal storm to rage. I was an Am....
  • THURSDAY, January 22

    The last fifteen years of my working life were spent as a financial advisor. I counseled clients on how to prepare for important goals such as retirement and children’s education. By inputting variables of cost, inflation, and time frame, it was possible to determine what periodic savings were nee....
  • WEDNESDAY, January 21

    Today we attended a lecture by Brazilian Roman Catholic theologian and nun Lina Boff on the subject of “Christ and Culture.” Her thesis was that no culture can lay claim to the real Jesus; he is seen differently, yet authentically, by each.

    This was supported by an exe....

  • TUESDAY, January 20

    “The Church is a lie and a fraud!” I spoke these intemperate words at a clergy conference in southern Brazil. My partner, Barbara, and I had been invited because we served as lay ministers in one of the diocese’s small outlying communities. The topic was the health of our churches, and the par....
  • MONDAY, January 19    The Confession of Saint Peter the Apostle (tr)

    It was the practice of our bishop to ask those seeking ordination: Who is Jesus for you? He did not ask it once, but at each interview along the path to ordination: as an inquirer, again when a postulant, when a candidate, and at the time of final approval for ordination.

  • SUNDAY, January 18    2 Epiphany

    This was the psalm of the day when I received the phone call. That evening at dinner in my parents’ home, I read it aloud in petition and thanksgiving. Though I had prayed for this moment, I had nearly given up hope that I would ever hear the words from my daughter: I’m pregnant. But there they ....
  • SATURDAY, January 17

    The deactivated train station we lived in was a highly public building. Almost daily, at all hours, groups gathered on the platform to drink, smoke pot, play music, and generally party, sometimes loudly. How to respond?

    Invite the dragon to tea. This Buddhist expression m....

  • FRIDAY, January 16

    “But you are supposed to live here, near us,” my five-year-old grandson blurted out in the middle of a fun game. Perhaps he was echoing his father, my son, that grandmothers should be available, not living in a distant country. Yet except for occasional visits, missing is how my three grandchild....
  • THURSDAY, January 15

    I had no choice but to leave him on the mountain. Our car was at the base of the towering limestone gorge. We had been driven to the trailhead that led over the ridge, then down to the river. Only we discovered the trail was neglected and overgrown, and contrary to guidance, there was no water. We w....
  • WEDNESDAY, January 14

    “I am going to buy you!” Luiz, the superintendent of a large nonprofit in Rio de Janeiro, worked to persuade us to join his organization as volunteers in residence, rather than leave the city in discouragement after our initial ministry failed.

    We never figured out if ....

  • TUESDAY, January 13

    Recently while in a department store, I happened to look up. The ceiling was studded with lighting fixtures—thousands of them, as numerous, it seemed, as the stars in the night sky. There were the usual recessed fluorescent fixtures, but the individual spotlights and LED units installed in miles o....
  • MONDAY, January 12

    Today I missed an opportunity to do good. My former wife came to the door of our daughter’s home to deliver a present to our grandson. I was alone in the house.

    We greeted each other politely. I took the present, and there we stood in the entry, awkwardly. I should have ....

  • SUNDAY, January 11    1 Epiphany

    I much prefer the word Spirit to God. The latter has been anthropomorphized from an unseen but undeniable force into male qualities: the white-haired old man and the blue-eyed suffering son. God is boxed into a certain form we think we can know and understand.

    The Spirit, ....

  • SATURDAY, January 10

    We left off serving the poor in Santa Rosa and returned to Rio de Janeiro to establish a Franciscan house of spirituality. Trouble is, there are poor here too, much more visible and in far greater numbers. In Santa Rosa, our guests politely stayed out of sight until actually approaching us for help;....

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