experiencing the Mystery of Christ

(beyond simply thinking about Him)



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. “

Marie’s heart was prepared for the worship of God and the honoring of the symbols which reveal Him. One who would seek transformation and renewal in the divine Image, to truly touch the hem of Christ’s garment with a pure heart in the same way as Marie, would also need to prepare himself; this involves the devotion of time and effort. The transformation itself is the gift  of God, Who Is Love, and also, a divine and holy Fire.

For further reflection: divine love & holy communion 

For information on the Orthodox Church, see Discover Orthodox Christianity 

In regard to persons with diability and the experience of the Mystery of Christ, See also Fr. Stephen Plumlee’s 1986 article, from the Orthodox Church in America’s Parish Development site: The Handicapped and Orthodox Worship

picture from the website of St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church

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