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The Enfeebled / Mentally Handicapped & Salvation

David 2007

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What is the Church's teachings on Salvation for the mentally handicapped.

Let me explain. My Brother In law, is severly Autistic to the point that he is non-verbal.

He can make the occasional inappropriate squeels. He has no concentration.  He's basically like a non-speaking child in a man's body.

On a side note, Apple Computers have been amazing in my Wife's family's life. He is able to use an ipod touch and now he can use an ipad! He listens to music. There is also a program where he can press buttons to communicate. Like food he wants, or go to toilet.

How are people like this judged by the Lord?  He may not even know who Jesus is.
 

chris

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I dare not speak for the Lord, but my private comment is this: I have seen more truly loving, Christian actions consistently emanate from folks we label as 'handicapped' than from folks we describe as 'fully able'.

If, therefore, to be a Christian is to truly be a human, then those we categorize as handicapped are the ones who are more human than we are.

Just my $.02.
 

sainthieu

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I suspect they are especially dear to God. I don't know, but I strongly suspect.
 

Ortho_cat

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I assume mentally handicapped people are baptised and allowed to receive communion just like everyone else. The degree of participation in the church life may vary, but each to his own measure by which he is capable.
 

seabeau

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Baptized and innocent, full members of the true Church just like an infant. Personal experience- they are the blest of God. If you want to see true miracles, find a disabled person and start praying for them.
 

chris

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seabeau said:
Baptized and innocent, full members of the true Church just like an infant. Personal experience- they are the blest of God. If you want to see true miracles, find a disabled person and start praying for them.
Indeed! Our salvation is not based on intelligence or knowledge: salvation is possible through participation in the Body of Christ and through love between God and His Children.

Folks we label as handicapped  can participate in the Body of Christ. I personally know that they can love others and love God, and I am certain God loves them as He does all His other children.
 

genesisone

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A woman who is now a member of our parish adopted (with her now ex-husband) a brother and sister from Romania about twenty years ago, so they are cradle Orthodox. The boy has severe mental and some physical handicaps and requires 24-hour care. The husband couldn't handle the situation when it became a reality; he left and is no longer part of the picture. The mother's interest in Orthodoxy grew, she eventually became Orthodox and is now a valued member of our parish. A little over a year ago, she remarried a wonderful man who has willingly and joyfully taken on both Orthodoxy and the role of fathering the young man. I had the pleasure and privilege of being that man's sponsor.

So I know of one severely handicapped person who has been instrumental in bringing people to the Orthodox faith. Dougie receives Communion regularly and clearly enjoys being at church, though he is unable to communicate verbally. We love him dearly and we know that we are loved by him. He and his parents are examples for all of us.
 

deusveritasest

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Mentally handicapped people still have a heart which has a certain disposition towards God. They'll be judged on that same basis.
 

katherine2001

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FrChris said:
seabeau said:
Baptized and innocent, full members of the true Church just like an infant. Personal experience- they are the blest of God. If you want to see true miracles, find a disabled person and start praying for them.
Indeed! Our salvation is not based on intelligence or knowledge: salvation is possible through participation in the Body of Christ and through love between God and His Children.

Folks we label as handicapped  can participate in the Body of Christ. I personally know that they can love others and love God, and I am certain God loves them as He does all His other children.
I agree.  I have seen people (especially those Christians against infant baptism) criticize or even make fun of children and their ability to have faith.  Personally, I've seen the faith and trust of children put us adults to shame way too many times to ever count them out.  We could learn a lot from them, if we would give up our pride in our intelligence and reason and be willing to see their wisdom and learn from them.  I believe the same about the mentally challenged. 

I also believe that God knows (and loves) each of us intimately and knows what we are capable of.  It seems to me that sometimes those who seem to not have been gifted with much do more with what gifts they do have than those who've been given a lot more gifts or talents. 
 

Shanghaiski

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Blessed "Crazy" John of Athens, a contemporary fool for Christ, once said of parents who had abandoned a baby with Down's Syndrome that they had "given up their ticket to Heaven." He also said that love for such people has curative powers, both for the handicapped person and the one who shows love.
 

tweety234

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FrChris said:
I dare not speak for the Lord, but my private comment is this: I have seen more truly loving, Christian actions consistently emanate from folks we label as 'handicapped' than from folks we describe as 'fully able'.

If, therefore, to be a Christian is to truly be a human, then those we categorize as handicapped are the ones who are more human than we are.

Just my $.02.
indeed. very true
 

soderquj

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We had a family in our Parish with a mentally handicap daughter who when the gifts were brought out for the Grand entrance, would actually begin to cry and asked why would say she would say she could see the Angles accompanying the gifts.

I believe that they can be closer to God then most of us.
 

vamrat

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I saw this fellow at my mother's church one time who kept on holding his hand to his head like he was holding a walkie talkie and would talk into it.  I did my best not to pay attention and not be distracted by his antics.  Eventually, it got too difficult.  As I watched it dawned on me that his talking into the walkie talkie corresponded with the priest's bits in the service, or something along those lines.  When I stood next I glanced over his shoulder and he had the liturgy book opened and had it at the right spot every time I looked down.

Some people pray with prayer beads and some do prostrations.  I guess some of us use an invisible walkie talkie.  In the end, so long as our prayers arise in God's sight as incense...
 

mabsoota

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david 2007, put some orthodox stuff on his computer and introduce church music also.
once he got used to this, play liturgical music for him, and then see if u can arrange for him to visit your church.
some churches have a 'baby room' where people with little kids can sit and see (and sometimes hear, if there are speakers in teh room) the liturgy. so if he is restless in church, have someone sit with him in the baby room.

i have disabled relatives and friends, and i can see for sure God touches the life of every one of them, even those who are non verbal and paralysed. in our church, we risk the other extreme (to worrying about their faith) and some people almost venerate disabled people, as we consider that they can be especially close to God.
 
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