experiencing the Mystery

(versus simply thinking about Him)

veneration

veneration

Even if persons with developmental disability lack the potential to ever reason abstractly, their experience of the Mysteries (the Sacraments) can be just as rich as those who can reach that stage. For the Mysteries have Divine depth, and always beckon one forward to greater participation and fuller comprehension of their import. For the experience ultimately transcends conceptualization.

Fr. John Breck, in “Down Syndrome at Pascha,” in his book God With Us: Critical Issues in Christian Life and Faith, describes Marie, a woman who had Down Syndrome, at the Holy Friday service: (pp. 66-67)

She was entirely dressed in black. Her face was streaked   with tears, her head was bowed, and her arms hung down at her sides. As she approached the shroud, she slowly made the sign of the cross three times, prostrated herself before it, and for a moment kept her head to the floor. Then she rose, kissed the face and then the feet of Christ, and finally venerated the Bible and the Cross. “

Here’s a word from the publisher on the Fr. John’s book as well as the site through which one may order it: http://www.svspress.com/product_info.php?products_id=79

Marie’s heart was prepared for the worship of God and the honoring of the symbols which reveal Him. One who would seek to truly touch the hem of His garment with a pure heart in the same way would also need to prepare himself; this involves the devotion of time and effort, and more importantly, the gracious response of Him Who Is Love (A Fire!). To fully participate in the Mysteries of the Orthodox Church, see here: http://www.antiochian.org/node/16917 For more on the Orthodox Church, see also http://www.antiochian.org/node/16958

photo from http://stjohndfw.info/

reprinted from March 2008

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