How Spirituality and Disability Are Related

With increasing frequency, we hear about spirituality, not only in the religious field but in the field of human relationships and social relations. And so, we hear that it is worth developing spirituality, that people without spirituality, live attached to the material and unable to grasp the deeper meaning of life. But what is spirituality and how is it related to disability?

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عرق السواحل

The word “spirituality” comes from spirit, “spirits”, which in Latin means wind. It is like a wind that pushes, that animates, that rejuvenates, that is in us, without us, for free.

When we say that a person has spirituality or is spiritual, many people relate it to someone who likes to pray, to meditate, to contemplate. This is an incomplete vision of spirituality. A broad and integral vision is that which considers as spiritual man or woman those who allow themselves to be led by the spirit, to those who make love the inspiring force of their lives.

Spirituality, therefore, touches all the spaces in which our life takes place: the house, the work center, the neighborhood, the school, the street, the Church. This love also reaches all dimensions of the human being: the relationship with God (prayer), but also the relationship with nature, (ecology), the relationship with the brothers (communion, solidarity) and of course the relationship with oneself (self-esteem, autonomy).

Spirituality has a double movement: “spirituality of closed eyes” and spirituality of “open eyes”. We call “spirituality of closed eyes”, that which is nourished by spaces of silence, prayer, contemplation. We call the spirituality of “open eyes” to that which feeds on what life gives us: the friendships, the setbacks, the surprises, the meetings that stimulate us to grow, the needs, the misfortunes and limitations that surround us.

Both are necessary and their feedback. He who is led by the spirit lives this double movement of systole and diastole: of knowing how to get out of oneself, to look, and to listen, there “where life cries out”, and to ruminate in the intimacy of his conscience, the images that He saw and the voices he heard in that coming out of himself.

In this way, spirituality is connected, in the case at hand, with knowing how to properly focus and integrate our relationship with people who experience a disability. Surely, spirituality will help us to approach them with esteem, with respect, with delicacy, with tenderness, knowing that in each one a spark of infinity beats. 

Whether we are relatives or neighbors when we relate to them, rather than focusing on limitation (which can be motor, sensory or mental), we will focus on the person who suffers from this disability and will seek to connect with their desires, their feelings, their joys and sorrows, with his nostalgia for fulfillment. If we are people who experience disability firsthand, spirituality will lead us to ask ourselves not so much the “why?” of the same, but rather the “for what?”, and this question will lead us to look for a meaning to our life that fills it with fruitfulness and hope.

Three Simple Practices that Can Help Us Grow in Spirituality Are:

The daily offering of the day. A moment at the beginning of the day to tell life, or our God, if we are believers: “all for you, all with you”. This simple prayer can fill our lives with meaning and light. The review of the day. A space every day at nightfall, to collect the experience, to analyze the questions that life launched us that day and how we responded.

The cultivation of some “green space” that allows us to oxygenate and enjoy life and live it in greater depth, such as a good reading, the serene listening of quality music, the contemplation of a sunset, the dialogue with the friend or the friend, a time to get in touch with God through prayer.

Christians believe that the Holy Spirit accompanies the life of human beings and of humanity. The Holy Spirit for Christians is the strength of the love of the Father and of the Son, it is God, it is one with them, it is Love “(1 Jn 4,8) Love is the gift of the gifts contained in all the rest.

May the Lord help us to grow in love and in spirituality to renew every day our life-giving him a sense of meeting (in the meeting we let ourselves be enriched and enriched) and of service. That Mary who said, “let it be done to me according to your word” (closed-eyed spirituality) and left hurriedly to help her cousin Elizabeth (open-eyed spirituality), accompany and inspire our walk close to people with disabilities.

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