Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Road to Juquila - Part 5: Holy Water

LOS MILAGROS DE JUQUILA, where the miraculous had been reality in 2001 [VHS]
I know it’s been awhile
since I posted something
about my trip to Juquila.
I had hopes of going to Palenque
this year,
but I am slowly starting to realize
that I am being called
to spend more time in Oaxaca.
I feel Our Lady
calling me back to Juquila.

It’s been six months
since my trip to Juquila,
I continue to reflect
on this sacred journey.

My life
and my brain
just seem to be going
in so many directions lately.
And I still have so much more to share
about this wonderful trip
to Our Lady’s little chapel.

Since the celebration
of The Easter Vigil
a couple of months back
my mind’s eye has been focused
on Holy Water.

Since my trip to Juquila
I’ve really given a lot of thought
to our use of Holy Water,
of our non-use of Holy Water,
and to the Holy Waters
found at Juquila.

of course,
water is just plain necessary for life.
We cook with water.
We clean and wash with water.
Water is just one of those things
that one can easily take for granted.

But of Holy Water?
What is it that gives Holy Water her power?
What makes Holy Water “Holy?”

Is it the power of God?
Is it the prayer of the priest?
Is it the assent of the people?
And who decides what bodies of water are holy?

I have several containers of Holy Water
on my home altar:
Guadalupe, San Juan de Los Lagos,
Lourdes. . .and yes,
even Juquila.
And to tell the truth,
I use them sparingly.
And since the Easter Vigil
I am beginning to question
why I don’t just use them all the time.

as already mentioned in previous blog posts,
is located in Oaxaca
in the mountains.
It is a long and arduous journey to get there.
Many of the area
choose to make the pilgrimage on foot,
processing for several days up that mountain
before finally arriving.

At the outskirts of Juquila,
there is a little place
where pilgrims can gather themselves
and their thoughts.
They can formalize their prayer requests
in concrete form
before going on
to the little mountain municipality.

They can stop and rest and eat.
They can also wash up.

as you watch the faithful
stepping into the river
one quickly realizes
that there is more going on
than people washing their face
or splashing their bodies.
It is easy to see
that something of a healing nature
is taking place in those holy waters.

I am certain that God
has greatly blessed that area
including the waters of that river.
And I am certain
that many a priest
has blessed those waters.
So please,
don’t think that I am in any way
negating the Power of the Merciful One
or the works of those
called to an ordained ministry.

But in all honesty,
I can’t help but think
that the water of that river is holy
because the people
are constantly blessing it.

The faithful aren’t just washing up
after a long journey.
They are refreshing
and renewing their belief.

What powerful things can be
if we but only believe.

. . .remember,
if we but believe
we can move those mountains. . .
. . .what we can do
if we had faith the size of a mustard seed. . . .

What happens
when a believing people
enter the waters of that river
and offer prayers of blessings
and thanksgiving?

A couple of years ago
I read many of the works
of Dr. Emoto.
He writes about the power of words
on water.
The Hidden Messages in Water
Great stuff.
I highly recommend.
His work demonstrates that the written words
“love” and “gratitude”
when shown to water,
will change the water.
So does the word “ugly.”
The words change the water.
Water charged and changed with “love”
changes the plant watered with it.
So does the plant
when watered with “ugly” water.
The words change the water.
The water changes the plant.
Can you imagine what that could mean
about the fruit and vegetables we eat?
This is so simple.
Its about words,
only words.

. . maybe that’s why grandma’s chicken soup
tastes so good
and makes us all better
when we are sick:
because she adds “love”. . .
. . but I digress. . .

I’ve said throughout this blog
that words of have power.
In fact,
one of my first blog posts
was about words and tattoos. . .
. . but I digress again. . .

Here’s what I’ve come to believe:
The water of that river is holy
because the people
are constantly blessing it.
Prayers of blessing and thanksgiving
are constantly flowing
from the faithful
as they approach this river,
as they are in the river,
as they leave the river.

But they are not just
blessing the water with their words.

They are blessing it
with all of their being:
Body, Mind, Spirit.

they have been on foot for days
making a sacred procession.
They have been in prayer
and singing sacred songs
as they journey.
They have worked hard
to get to this sacred place.
The have worked hard
to be in Sacred Space.
Laos Ergon: The Work of the People.
Their time in this Holy Water
IS Liturgy.
And Liturgy,
all liturgy,
a sacred, holy event.

We become what we get close to.
Look at your closest five friends.
How much are they like you?
How much are you like them?

This water, too, becomes
what it gets close to.
It becomes Sacred and Holy
because a Sacred and Holy people
approach her, seek her, touch her,
and bless her.

The water is blessed
because a blessed, holy people
are in constant contact with her,
blessing her.
The water,
ever present,
is also listening
as the faithful voice their prayers.

And now,
I’m calling the river “her”
as if she were alive.
The thing is,
she is.
And she is very, very sacred.

mind you,
I’m not at this time
speaking/writing about ecology
or keeping the earth green.
That discussion,
I’m sure,
will make itself known.
What I am speaking of here
is very simply
the power of words.

Words have power.
Don’t forget
the Word Became Flesh.
I don’t know why the works
of Dr. Emoto
would come as such a big surprise
if we really believe
what we’ve read a gazillion times
in the Scripture.

Words Have Power.
And the faithful
are constantly
pouring blessings
on the water
of this river.

The faithful
are making this water Holy
with their words,
with their prayers,
with their work,
with their bodies.

why are those holy water bottles
just sitting on my home altar?
Why am not blessing myself
everyday with them?
Why haven’t I blessed
the whole of my house,
inside and out,
with those sacred, holy waters?

What good are they
if I don’t use them?

We become what we get close to.
I could use a little Guadalupe
in and around my neighborhood. . .

My middle son
was in the hospital a couple of months back.
His illness was sudden
and changed our lives.
At the time,
a little Juquila healing
would have been most appropriate.

And then,
not too long ago,
I was sick myself for awhile,
missing quite a bit of work
and just having hard time
getting over a respiratory bug.
Guadalupe Holy Water
really could have made all the difference.

I should be blessing my vegetable garden,
my car,
my son’s school books. . .

. . . a pitbull went after my cat
not too long ago
and really, really scared her.
I should have blessed her
and entrusted her, once again,
to the care of St. Francis. . . . . .

I can’t tell you
the number of prayer requests
that come through
my facebook.
Why haven’t I just given
my bottle of Lourdes Holy Water
to someone who really needs it?
Why am I hoarding it?
What good is my faith,
my belief,
if I don’t share it?

I did not enter the river
when I made my trip to Juquila.
I regret that now.
as I have every intention
of returning to Juquila
you can bet your bottom dollar
that I won’t deny myself
that sacred experience.

And so now
I’m blessing the waters of that river
even though
I am thousands of miles away. . . .

Words Have Power.
And when words are spoken
in prayer and blessing,
they have the greatest power of all.

Holy Water.
Something so simple,
so basic,
and yet,
so powerful.

You know,
we SHOULD be blessing the waters
of the gulf area.
And maybe we should be pouring
our bottles of Holy Water
right into it. . . .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Even before I read the last paragraph of your "blog," my mind thought of the Gulf of México, and I offered a prayer for "her" and all of her children who are and will be affected by this tragedy.

I have annointing oil from Santa Ana and water from Lourdes that Anna brought back, and I use them when I am ill, but I have only shared them with my children. Apparently, I, too, am stingy. I accept the challenge to share!

I wish you a blessed trip and a holy annointing in that blessed body of water on the way to see the Virgen de Juquila. ¡Bendiciones!