Body of Christ for a Boy with disAbility
It was quite a journey to receive the Body of Christ for the candidates who are part of the Adaptive Catechesis program l lead in my parish. This past year, we had an all-readers, all-boys class and a group of ladies who I’m blessed to serve with.
One of the steps in receiving the Body of Christ, is to learn how to position their hands: hands extended; palms up; left over right. I even have a little tune to the words, “Body of Christ. Amen.” This way, every time the boys would listen to it, it would prompt them to place their hands in the right position. Eventually, the candidates were able to position their hands properly (even without the little tune) as they would answer, “Amen!” out loud while receiving unconsecrated hosts during our many practices. Thus, that step was completed!
The question of children with disAbilities being able to understand or truly learn about God in general is best illustrated by what happened during one of our last classes. I was reading to the boys the Bible story on the Last Supper. I explained to them how they would be receiving the same Body of Jesus, Body of Christ, while I pointed at the picture of Jesus during the Last Supper on the illustrated Bible. I also placed my hands in the position to receive Holy Communion. Suddenly, one of the very vocal boy’s eyes opened in amazing discovery as he looked at me asking, “Do you mean that WE are going to eat Jesus?”
“Yes!” I responded quite excited. “The Body of Christ!”
At one point, this surprised boy inquired, “So, are going to eat His brain?”
At that moment, I did not want to lose that beautiful moment of discovering who Jesus is in the Holy Sacrament, so I looked
for an answer to satisfy the boy’s dilemma. I remembered the words in the Divine Mercy chaplet (Thank you, God!). So, I answered, “His Body, Blood, soul, and divinity.”
At the insistence of our candidate, “His brain? We are going to eat Jesus’ brain?”
I repeated, “His Body, Blood, soul, and divinity” while one of the ladies repeated with me the same true words. The third grader was quietly thinking after settling for that answer.
I trust that Jesus, merciful like His Father, settled the boy’s heart like He does each hungry heart. Yes! Children with disAbilities can understand and learn about the Body of Christ when we facilitate that encounter.