“That the mentally handicapped may not be marginalized, but respected and lovingly helped.”
“This month the Holy Father affirms the worth of people who are mentally handicapped. The developmentally disabled, as they are usually termed in the U.S., tend to be marginalized by society–that is, they are pushed aside, put away, and ignored. Their crime is that they happen to exhibit weakness of intellect. Sometimes the mental handicap is accompanied by delays in speech, social skills, and physical abilities. Some of the developmentally disabled lead independent lives in their communities. But many need help to live up to their potential. Some need constant care.
In 1964 French layman Jean Vanier noticed the plight of thousands institutionalized with developmental disabilities. Vanier invited two men to come live with him in his home. He named the home L‘Arche, French for The Ark. Now there are 130 L‘Arche households throughout the world. Just what is the value of the mentally handicapped? Jean Vanier puts it this way: "The mentally handicapped.. .have time to look and think and marvel and love...They are a sign, by their very being, that peace and joy...are not gained by work alone, and do not depend on wealth. Therefore, they utter a terrible warning; a warning that if men do not use their knowledge and ability to make the world more just, more brotherly, and to bridge the ever-widening gap between rich and poor, then this world will end in agony, strife, and fire." May we join the Holy Father in praying that the mentally handicapped not be ignored or rejected, but that we might learn to respect the dignity of every human being.”
Do you know a person who is mentally handicapped?
What might you do to affirm his or her dignity?
Scripture: Matthew 31:34-36 ~ “Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.”’