Thursday, August 15, 2013


flowers along a desert trail

When most people think about "miracles," they imagine some extraordinary, supernatural event - something that occurs through divine intervention. The Christian Scriptures are filled with miracle stories- a leper is touched by Jesus and is cured, a small child's hearing is restored, a blind man sees. Jesus can perform miracles, great saints can perform miracles, and while miracles might have happened "back then;" they certainly don't occur among ordinary people in everyday life nowadays, and almost no one thinks of themselves as being a "miracle worker." 

Actually, I have a different "take" on miracles. I think miracles happen every day, performed by ordinary people in the ordinary routine of everyday life. Anyone can be a miracle worker.   

Yesterday I was reading the New York Times; and the news was filled with horrible stories of the devastating violence in Egypt. So much suffering and so much death that it was hard to even look at those photos and read those stories.

But then I came across another article. It was a story about Sergio Castro from Chiapas Mexico. Up until the time I read that article, I had never heard of Mr. Castro and I certainly didn't know that such a place as Chiapas Mexico even existed.  The title of the article was: "In Mexico, a Healer Who Asks for Nothing in Return."

The reason why most people have never heard of Chiapas, Mexico is because it is mostly populated by native Mayans- Mexico's most marginalized citizens, outcasts who have suffered from centuries of discrimination and neglect.  When the people of Chiapas get sick or have an accident, there are no emergency rooms for them to visit, no doctors on-call at the neighborhood clinic- but they do have Sergio Castro.

Mr. Castro is not a physician. He isn't a nurse. He isn't an ordained priest or a local Shaman. He is just an ordinary citizen with a heart filled with compassion. 

Every day Sergio goes out among the people up in the highlands of Mexico with his little bag of gauze, disinfectant and balms, and he cleans and bandages wounds suffered from cuts and burns. He bandages the sores caused by a growing diabetes epidemic among the people. He treats small children. He treats bedridden amputees and dying old people. He binds up their wounds, holds their hands, and assures them they are not alone or forgotten.

Mr. Castro accepts no money from his patients because he says, "If they aren't worried about paying me, then they can be calm and they are motivated to heal quickly." Every day, lots of healing happens in the hills of Chiapas Mexico. Everyday miracles performed by an ordinary everyday miracle worker- the Holy Presence brilliantly shining through compassionate hands and a caring heart.

The story of Sergio Castro in the forgotten wilderness of Chiapas poured healing balm upon my spirit yesterday as I watched and read about the destruction in Egypt. It was a story that made me realize that, even in the driest and darkest of times, we are never abandoned. Flowers do bloom in the desert.

I believe that there are thousands of everyday, ordinary, unsung miracle workers like Sergio Castro out there in the world.  In fact, probably most every one of us has been a miracle worker at some time- a mother consoles her confused son, a volunteer serves a meal at a homeless shelter, a neighbor takes a meal to a grieving widow- countless incidences of "divine intervention" -  Holy Presence breaking through into the everyday, ordinary happenings of our life.

The Buddha taught:

As from a large heap of flowers many garlands and wreaths are made,
so by a mortal in this life there is much good work to be done.

So many miracle workers and so many miracles in this world- all beautiful flowers weaving fragrant garlands to ward off the stench of death and stand in the face of the ugliness of violence.

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