by Albert Rossi, Gay Rossi and Stewart Armour, members of the Dept. of Lay Ministries’ Task Force on Ministry to the Sick, and to the Handicapped.1986.
A very compelling article. Some quotations:
The disabled and needy are mirrors for us, if only we can see. … They are wounded, and we are wounded. ….
The deaf, blind, maimed and all others with special needs are sacraments for us, icons of God. They force us to ask different questions about the meaning of life. … The deaf, blind, maimed and all others with special needs are sacraments for us, icons of God. They force us to ask different questions about the meaning of life. ….
Often, however, fear is the great enemy. … [keeping] us self-conscious, constricted, and worrying a great deal about our own needs. This, of course, is the opposite of love. ….
… we might ask ourselves how much and how often we bring our fear to God in prayer. … We cannot become less self-absorbed by our own efforts. Fundamentally this is the work of God. ….
In the realm of dealing with disabled persons, this means first reflecting upon and identifying our fears. ….
The first step [in countering our fears] is to acknowledge and talk about the fear with someone who understands. The second and crucial step is to behave in some small way that counters the fear … The person afraid of initiating the conversation with the blind parishioner at coffee hour might begin by finding the courage to at least join an ongoing conversation with that person. ….
Paraphrased Conclusion: Trusting in God’s grace, with determination to cooperate with His call upon us, we begin with prayer, acknowledging our fears and seeking out what God’s will is for us in regard to our interactions and relationships with the persons with disability in our midst.
The cost is no small change and the gain, particularly for ourselves, is probably vast and incalculable.