I received an e-mail from my Dad earlier this week and in it was a link to the a replay of Pope Francis’ Easter Mass. Dad urged me to pay attention to something that would happen at around a certain time in the video replay, “and grab a kleenex,” he added. Unfortunately I couldn’t access the video on my phone, and I wasn’t by my computer because I received the e-mail as I was waiting in the pediatrician’s office with Miss M, who needed stitches on her heel thanks to an accidental glass breakage. I was trying to keep her occupied by showing her shoes on Amazon (hey, you do what you gotta do when distracting a toddler for 20 minutes who wants nothing more than to be running around, cuts and numbing gel aside). So wholly occupied by the drama in front of me, I forgot about the e-mail.
Until I saw this picture today.
And I cried.
Nine years ago today Trooper came home from the NICU. His cerebral palsy is milder than little Dominic’s, but the lesson he teaches us is the same. It has always been the same. And what lesson is that? Thanks to Mary at Passionate Perseverance I found a link to the story the boy’s father told about this encounter at the Vatican. Here’s an excerpt.
Why is the whole world so moved by images of this embrace? A woman in the Square, moved to tears by the embrace, perhaps answered it best when she to my wife afterward, “You know, your son is here to show people how to love.” To show people how to love. This remark hit my wife as a gentle heaven-sent confirmation of what she has long suspected: that Dominic’s special vocation in the world is to move people to love, to show people how to love. We human beings are made to love, and we depend upon examples to show us how to do this.
But how can a disabled person show us how to love in a way that only a disabled person can? Because the Cross of Christ is sweet and is of a higher order. Christ’s resurrection from the Cross proclaims that the love he offers us, the love that we, in our turn, are to show others, is the REAL reason he endured the Cross in the first place. Our stony hearts are transformed into this Christ-like love, and thereby empowered to change hatred into love, only through the Cross. And no one shares in the Cross more intimately than the disabled.
Now excuse me, but I’m going to go give my incredibly tall former preemie a hug. There’s always so much more I want to say about our big guy, somehow to encapsulate all he has done for us, for our lives these past nine-and-a-half years. Truly, we do so much for him, to help him meet his goals, but as the article indicates…. we’re the gainers. Just by being himself that Trooper of ours teaches us more about living than we could learn from a book.
He also shows us how to truly love.