Friday, August 3, 2007

The Healing Spring

Down the road about a mile is a shrine to St. Mary built 50 years ago by a Polish monk. There's an open-air chapel at the top of the hill, but in the hollow is a 1/4-mile path into the woods that ends at a natural spring. It's at the bottom of a tall cliff of rock. A small platform has been built so pilgrims can kneel at the spring and pray and scoop out some water -- because this particular spring (plus prayers, I suppose) produces healing waters. Fortunately this is little-known, or the place would be mobbed, as the Lourdes spring, in Portugal, is.

Frogs live in this spring, and splash in and out of the water while you pray. They are cheerful. Especially if your heart is heavy with troubles, it is good to see their fat bellies and permanently smiling faces. They are always there in any season, any weather.

We are, of course, always praying for miracles to heal us from one trauma or another. But you have to smile at the frogs who have made their home in this holy place.

Of course the whole world is a holy place. All you need to find that out -- mighty quick -- is a clue that may mean that your time here is nearly up. One is healed of all other worries (about the credit cards; the bad haircut; the blown job interview; the President's decisions) right there. So it must be that death too is a kind of healing spring, hallowing everything.

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