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The Forward Day by Day Meditation for September 20, 2014

We post a Forward Day by Day Meditation for every day of the year - and we invite you to consider them and talk about them here. If you'd like to comment, please register for an account at Facebook. By checking the "Post to Facebook" box when commenting, you'll be able to find and quickly link back to this page from your Facebook account. You can also find the past week's Meditations in the box at right (or below, for mobile users), or search for previous entries on the Archives page.

SATURDAY, September 20      Ember Day

John 12:44 Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me.

Every year thousands of pilgrims come to El Santuario, in Chimayo, New Mexico, seeking healing. The side chapel of this simple church, also called the Lourdes of the West, is lined with crutches and canes, prayers and poems—testimonials of those who have been cured by the holy dirt in El Posito, a small hole in the chapel floor. Dirt, of course, does not replenish itself as does the flowing water at Lourdes. The sextons refill the hole from the dirt pile behind the church.

In today’s gospel, Jesus calls on us to earn eternal life, humbling himself to ask us to believe, not in him, “but in him who sent me.” In Acts, the philosophers tell Paul, in arch tones, that his new teaching “sounds rather strange to us.” Paul debates them, hoping they can be humble enough to listen and learn.

These readings explain the miracles of Chimayo. Paul tells us that God does not live in shrines made with human hands—but neither does God live in a hole in the ground. God lives in the faith of pilgrims who humble themselves to kneel beside a well and scoop out dirt with their bare hands while offering prayers. The miraculous healing comes not from what the pilgrims take from the hole, but from what they bring to it.

PRAY for the Diocese of Huron (Ontario, Canada)

Today the Church remembers John Coleridge Patteson, Bishop of Melanesia, and his Companions, Martyrs, 1871.

Ps 75, 76 * 23, 27; Esther 2:5-8, 15-23; Acts 17:16-34; John 12:44-50

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