Monday, June 23, 2008

Disabled teach us about the Eucharist

Jean Vanier, founder of L'Arche communities addressed the 49th Eucharistic Congress in Quebec Sunday and " told the story of a mentally handicapped boy from Paris on the day he received his First Communion: "After Mass, which was a family celebration, the boy's uncle, who was his godfather, said to the child's mother: 'What a beautiful liturgy! How sad it is that he didn't understand anything.'
"The child heard these words and, with tears in his eyes, said to his mother: 'Don't worry, Mommy, Jesus loves me just as I am.'"
Vanier affirmed: "This child had a wisdom that his uncle was yet to attain: the Eucharist is God's gift par excellence. "This child gives witness that a disabled person -- sometimes deeply disabled -- finds life, strength and consolation in and through Eucharistic communion. Is not this a call that the whole Church should hear?"
In L'Arche, the founder continued, "we have seen that if we pay attention to the deepest needs of disabled people, we can see their desire for Communion at the moment of the Eucharist."
I wrote about Christina's early relationship with Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist at an early age here and later here.
It was Mary, a young lady with Trisomy 21, who prepared me for having Christina, by the way she adored Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Many years ago, when our parish had it's only time of adoration, a Forty Hours Exposition for the Feast of Corpus Christi, I came to adoration to see Mary prostrate on the floor in front of the Monstrance for nearly an hour. As far as I knew, she had never seen anyone do that before, she was merely responding to the Lord's presence with a completely open heart, free of the fear of what others would say.
I was so moved, I said to myself, "What mother wouldn't giver her left arm for this daughter?" Little did I know that her mother was so bitter about her disability that she refused to have another child, and stopped going to church. Her husband, unwilling to disobey Church teaching on artificial contraception, never approached the marital bed for the rest of his life. I suspect he must have offered his suffering for his wife and daughter, for Mary was truly an extraordinary young lady, full of love and joy.Now that her father is gone, her mother takes her to Mass but won't stay with her.
Please pray that her mother's eyes are opened to the blessing that her daughter is and that she repents of rejecting Our Lord's friendship. Mary and her father are praying for her.
Read the entire story here.
HT Catholic Online
UPDATE: Here and here are two posts on children with Trisomy 21 receiving their First Holy Communions. I think they confirm Jean Vanier's message!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post. My daughter is severly autistic and the Eucharist has blessed her and us through here. On father's day she turned to me right as the consecration was begining and said "Thank you". Such a beautiful moment.