St. John Chrysostom: “If you ever wish to associate with someone, make sure that you do not give your attention to those who enjoy health and wealth and fame as the world sees it, but take care of those in affliction, . . . in critical circumstances, . . . who are utterly deserted and enjoy no consolation. Put a high value on associating with these, for from them you shall receive much profit, . . . and you will do all to the glory of God. God Himself has said, ‘I am the Father of orphans and the protector of widows. (Psalms 67:6)’”
Paul Harkin, ed. Ancient Christian Writers: St. John Chrysostom’s Baptismal Instructions, 6.12, pp. 97-98
Listed below are two things I have written in regard to interaction with persons with disabilities and the mutual service that the Holy Spirit can inspire through such relationships. St. John Chrysostom infrequently specified persons with disabilities, but spoke often of the call to follow Jesus in blessing those around us in need (the poor). In whatever way a person is disabled, he has a need in that regard that may require for assistance.
And in my experience working in a group home for many years, in such relationships the giver will receive much in return. Jean Vanier of L’Arche speaks of how such relationships can bring healing through the recognition of brokenness.
In all honesty, in my thesis I struggled to establish the modern context of St. John Chrysostom’s exhortations in regard to the specific implications they have for our interactions with persons with developmental disabilities. Due to privacy concerns I could not share stories from my life in the group home. I instead sought to explore how the Orthodox Church is addressing this, and added a few thoughts of my own. I have since learned much more which I have sought to share here on Arms Open Wide.
St. John Chrysostom, Almsgiving, and Persons with Disability http://www.incommunion.org/2007/10/27/st-john-chrysostom-almsgiving-and-persons-with-disability/
THESIS ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM AND THE SOCIALIZATION OF PERSONS WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITY: PATRISTIC INSPIRATION FOR CONTEMPORARY APPLICATION.”