One of my friends has paralysis. One day,
while we were chatting on a patio facing
the sea, he told me his story.
He was not born like this, he said. He was
a normal boy with sturdy legs. Then one morning
he woke up and he could not move his legs.
"It was a big shock for me and for my
mother; my father has passed away already."
We went to various doctors, tried diverse
treatments, but nothing seemed to work. His
legs were dead, "physically impaired"
to use his words. "For many months I
was so bitter. I thought this was utterly
unfair. I did not deserve this. "Why
can not I go and play hockey and basketball
like everyone else?" I realized that
having a normal relationship with a girl
would be basically impossible. What girl
would want a boy who cannot walk?"
He was livid. "I was angry at God, I
was angry at myself, I was angry with my
mother, because I was her fifth child, and
if she did not bring me to life I would not
have to go through all this agony."
Then one night, God came to the rescue. "I
could not sleep. Then I heard someone speaking
softly near me. It was my mother. She did
not realize I was awake. And I heard her
praying. I still remember the words she was
saying. 'God, please relieve the pain and
the anger of my son. If it at all possiblem
pass this paralysis on to me!"
"It was like an intense light just switched
on inside me. I realized how self-centered
I was. It is true, I have two legs that are
crippled and I will never walk on my two
feet again. But here is a woman that has
a heart (not legs!) that is utterly broken,
a woman who is suffering terribly. Andů I
never realized it! I was so absorbed in my
paralysis that I did not even grasp that
there was another person who was suffering
like me, perhaps more than me, and she was
suffering because of me!"
He looked at me and said softly, "She
was even asking God the impossible, that
my pain would pass to her. Suddenly I felt
like I could let go, I felt faith flowing
back to me. For the first time I realized
that perhaps this paralysis is good for me,
even necessary for me, needed for the salvation
of my soul. This light have accompanied me
I was speechless. This young adult had acquired
a wisdom through this paralysis that I myself,
even though I was much older than him, had
not yet acquired. I understood that day what
being a Christian really means. From the
moment Jesus Christ went up on the cross
willingly, believing in the love of His Father,
after that, even for us, the will of the
Father that manifests itself in the events
of life is always salvation for us.
A Christian is a servant and a servant does
not do his own will but the will of the Other.
This is where happiness lies. This is where
our rescue lies. Like Him who "took
the form of a slave and humbled himself and
became obedient to the point of death. And
so God highly exalted himů"
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
granted for any non-commercial use,
that the content is unaltered from
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