Tuesday, October 22, 2013



             A little boy wanted a pet puppy. His father agreed to grant his wish. They visited a pet store to purchase a puppy. They were shown different varieties of pet puppies by the shop-manager. He was eloquent about the smartness, beauty and pedigree of each puppy in his collection. But the boy selected a weak, lame and limping puppy lying alone in a corner of the room. The manager explained that it was permanently handicapped, being born without a hip socket, and reminded that it was unable to run, jump and play with him unlike the other healthy and active animals in the store.
             The little boy bent down and rolled up his pants and showed his twisted and crippled legs which were supported by a specially fabricated orthopaedic brace to assist him while standing and walking. He looked up at the store owner and softly replied, “Well, I don’t walk so well myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands his weakness and disability!” The boy added, "That poor, little puppy needs me and I need him. We need each other."
             The manager was compassionate. He told the boy that he could take the puppy free of cost. But the boy did not agree. He strongly argued, “The lame puppy is not worthless. We will pay for it the same price which you charge for the healthy ones.”
             Like the lame puppy in the story, everybody deserves to be recognised, respected and loved. Every person has his own value and should never be judged by his outward appearance. Persons with disabilities need our special care, attention, consideration and encouragement. With our sincere support, they can achieve wonderful things in life and become an inspiration to all.
            Albert Schweitzer thought and wrote about the "fellowship of those who bear the mark of pain." Those outside this fellowship usually have great difficulty in understanding what lies behind the pain.

              The four gospels show Jesus spending much time with the ‘lost’, the ‘last’ and the ‘least’ in society. He displayed great compassion for persons with disabilities or diseases. There are many examples in the Gospels revealing that deep concern for people with disabilities was one of the prominent notes of His earthly ministry.

             Jesus taught, “See that you don’t despise any of these little ones. Their angels in heaven, I tell you, are always in the presence of my Father in heaven” {Matthew 18: 10}.

            “Large crowds came to Him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the dumb, and many other sick people, whom they placed at Jesus’ feet; and He healed them. The people were amazed as they saw the dumb speaking, the crippled made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they praised the God of Israel” {Matthew 15: 30, 31}.

             Jesus was moved with compassion whenever he encountered the disabled such as the person born blind {John 9: 1-7} or the man with the withered hand {Luke 14: 1-5}. Concern for people with disabilities and their healing were prominent missions of Jesus' ministry. Jesus brought them to the mainstream of society. Jesus tried to create a loving and caring community where no one was excluded on the basis of disability. Likewise, it is the mission of the church to remove the walls of discrimination in society. Love is a language that can be heard by the deaf, seen by the blind and felt even by the new-born and the mentally retarded.

             The early Christian communities displayed three major qualities: Daring, Caring and Sharing. They showed care and kindness to each other, especially to the weak, the sick and the poor. {Acts 4: 32-37}.

             St. John advises, “My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action” {1 John 3:18}."If someone says he loves God, but hates his brother, he is a liar. For he cannot love God, whom he has not seen, if he does not love his brother, whom he has seen"{1 John 4: 20, 21}.
             In the view of the Blessed Mother Teresa, “The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.” She said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. I see God in every human being. When I wash the lepers’ wounds, I feel I am nursing the Lord Himself. Is it not a beautiful experience?”

             Mother Teresa was a true disciple of Jesus who taught us, “My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you. The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them” {John 15: 12, 13}.

             We may give without loving; but we cannot love without giving. Love is giving all we can. Love is like a smile - neither has any value unless given away. Karl Menninger said, “Love cures people - both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it.” “Mother Teresa said, "It is not how much you do, but how much love you put into what you do that counts.”

© By: Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, Darsana Academy, Kottayam-686001, Kerala, India ( Former Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India), Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally,  Leo. S. John, St. Antony's Public School, Anakkal, Kanjirappally and Neil John, Maniparambil, Ooriyakunnath, Kunnumbhagom, Kanjirappally, Kottayam-686507, Kerala, India.
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