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"VAI TRABALHAR!" (Go to work!) by Emma Bragdon

When people from countries outside Brazil first come to see John of God (João de Deus), they often assume he can do some magic, and heal them on the spot. Their expectation is: "He's the Miracle Man. All I have to do is show up. If it takes a little waiting in line, that's ok. It's worth the wait, if he'll zap me." In early 2001, I was one who lined up, waiting to see what he could do for me, waiting for the miracle.

I've returned to his sanctuary eighteen times, sometimes staying for months, so I've come to know and love the Casa. In April, 2004, I listened to João (the ordinary man, not channeling) give an interview for a documentary film. João repeated two important messages throughout the interview:

-"It is not I, but God that does the healing." In other words, João is not doing anything but allowing a greater intelligent force to work through his physical vehicle.

-"There is no magic. Healing takes time." In other words, if we ask, the benevolent spirits will help us. The person seeking healing must do their work, too.

This explains why the medium, João, frequently says - in a very emphatic tone - to the person who consults him, "Vai Trabalho!" (Go to work!) He then simultaneously points to indicate, "Sit over there, in the current room (a place for meditation and prayer)."

What does this mean? Just this: We who come for healing must do our share. We must be willing to be silent, look within, to see the roots of our illness. We must be willing to do the work of forgiving ourselves for hurt we have caused, and forgiving others who have hurt us. We are called to leave our self-absorption, realize how many others are suffering, and actively focus our energy to help others.

The spiritualists of Brazil, called Spiritists, believe that people can have spontaneous healings when their karmic debts are paid. Every cause has an effect. Every time you hurt someone, you cause a negative effect. The effect, eventually, comes back to you, like a boomerang: that is, you experience some hurt, or a negative situation. Your energy body actually reflects negativity as a darkening, or dark spots. When you pray for others, or focus your energy on helping João in his work, you contribute to a positive cause. You add to your karmic bank account, and cancel some karmic debt. This brightens your energy body, and adds to your wellbeing.

Sitting in the current room at the Casa can have its ups and downs. There are the high points of extraordinary spiritual experiences, like feeling at One with God, and there are the long hours that can feel like an endurance test. One thing is for sure - as you dive ever more deeply into your work you are relieved of your focus on your dis-ease and you find that your illness-no matter what symptoms you still have - is insignificant when measured alongside the opportunity to transform into a more loving, radiant being.

If you choose to continue the process, the benevolent entities become more apparent, your darkness dissolves, your light and lovingness grow ever stronger, you align with your Higher Self, and you feel a deepening peace. These are the marker points of spiritual healing-the Miracles. And, yes, of course João does help us get to them.


Emma Bragdon, PhD.( has been a guide for groups visiting the Casa since 2001. Her internationally-acclaimed books introduce people to John of God, the work of the Casa (Spiritual Alliances: Discovering the Roots of Health at the Casa de Dom Inácio) and Spiritism in Brazil (Kardec's Spiritism: A Home for Healing and Spiritual Evolution). Learn more at You can purchase books online at or