ARCHBISHOP FULTON SHEEN has said that a special child in a family brings tremendous blessings to the whole family, making saints of everyone. So the presence of this child is like a magnet drawing graces and blessings on everyone, especially the parents. The womb she or he spent nine months in, is sanctified by this holy child, so that further pregnancies of his future brothers and sisters (God willing) would be holy because of the generosity of the parents.

This child draws the best out of those who lovingly surround him or her. It makes them go beyond the self and makes this child into the utmost teacher of what unconditional love really is. Those surrounding and lovingly caring for the child with special needs grow aware of the absolute preciousness and sanctity of human life while drawing deeply from their own wells of creativity and powers of love.

Parents entrusted with a special child have a unique vocation. It is not an exaggeration to say that children with special needs are among the great evangelizers in the world of today.

In the Gospel of Saint John there is this liberating passage (Jn 9:1-3):

"As he went along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, for him to have been born blind?’ ‘Neither he nor his parents sinned,’ Jesus answered, ‘he was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him.’"

First of all, it is of great importance that parents and next of kin know that the special needs in the child is not the result of anyone’s sins, or as heard so often, a punishment from God.

Secondly: the works of God deserve a short reflection: I have come across a translation in the Bible that said: "so that the glory of God may be displayed in him". This has two priceless messages:

1. The tremendous efforts parents, grandparents, doctors and specialists make to bring this child to live a meaningful life is a miracle in itself. The meaning of life is to love and to be loved! All these people in the caring and healing ministry are part of the miracle: co-workers of God.

2. It is precisely the child’s special needs that stir and open up peoples creativity and unlimited resources of love; not only beyond average, it becomes a manifestation or visibility of God’s loving and powerful presence in all those who have committed themselves to this journey, enabling them to love as God loves. - by Father Frans De Ridder

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