Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Disability or profound gift?

There is a beautiful meditation on disabilities from Monsignor Charles Pope at the Archdiocese of Washington DC website.
 Over twenty years ago I worked for a year with the profoundly mentally disabled. They lay in beds and wheelchairs often with little muscle control. None of them could talk and only a few could engage in rudimentary communication. There was one man in his forties who had never emerged from the fetal position. He lay in a large crib his tiny yet clearly adult body curled up like a newborn babe. And on his face the most angelic smile that almost never diminished. He had been baptized as an infant and to my knowledge could not have sinned. I looked with marvel each visit upon innocence and a beatific countenance. What an astonishing gift he was. And who knows but God why he was this way? But God DOES know and had very important reasons. There was something central and indispensable in this man’s existence. Some role only he could fill. Apparently I was not able to fill that role. He was not disabled, he was differently abled, uniquely abled for something different than the ordinary. Looking upon him I had little doubt that he was directly in touch with God in a way that I never had been for his radiant face infallibly conveyed that. With our human eyes we can be saddened even appalled. But we’ll understand it better by an by. One day in the great by and by we may well be surprised to learn that the most central and critical people in God’s plan were the most humble and often the most broken and that we would never have made it without them.
Thank you Monsignor Pope for this profound meditation on the unfathomable gifts of a loving God. We are grateful that you see our children through the eyes of faith and that you are helping others to do the same. May God richly reward your efforts.

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1 comment:

Mary N. said...

What an incredibly beautiful meditation! Some people have gifts so profound that our simple human understanding cannot encompass the beauty of them because we look at them with our physical eyes instead of the eyes of our heart. I believe that God's children with disabilities are the faces that make God smile when He is saddened by the sin in our world. My next-door neighbor when I was a child sustained brain damage as an infant due to an accident and he was the most beautiful, loving child that I have ever met. He exuded pure joy and greeted everyone with hugs every time he saw them:)