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'Take a moment to be present to someone in need. Show that you care, reach out and plant a loving seed.'
-- Lyrics from
'Life Is a Journey'

Weston Benedictine Monks
Journey to Nicaragua
Winter Retreat, 2001

Looking back from Vermont:
Juancito's healing ways

(ONE OF A SERIES )

Now we recall Juancito, the "doctor" who travels by horseback twice each week to minister to the residents of San Nicolas.

    He is smiling, welcoming us to the room behind the pharmacy, his little clinic. He holds in his hand a thin metal rod that he uses for diagnosing the ailments of his patients.

    Juancito would not be called a doctor in the United States and this little room is no American health care clinic.

    But in this place without resources, without wealth, with so very little technology -- in this place that knows such suffering and such despair -- a gentle young man is offering a quality of presence, of care, of kindness. He offers healing and a sign of hope.

    He uses what is at hand, and what has been handed down to him.

    For people who sense that no one cares about them in their suffering, for people who feel abandoned in their pain, he offers something from his heart.

    He is interested in them.

    He asks about them.

    He does what he can.

    Along with his traditional herbs and remedies, he offers what he has, his time, his presence. A human feeling.

    It is hard for us to understand. It may even sound to us like magic or wishful thinking.

    Yet then we recall, in the gospels, where Jesus uses mud to open a blind person's eyes.

    Uses spittle to loosen a mute person's tongue.

    Writes in the sand, in the face of righteous accusers.

    Uses what is at hand and is totally present to the suffering persons in need.

And those wonders he worked we recognize as miracles, not magic.

Next: Looking back from Vermont: An encounter at sunrise

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