The words of the psalm, “How can I repay the Lord for all the good He has done for me?” (Ps. 116: 12) marvelously express what we have experienced this past summer at our mission in Albania, where we have home for disabled persons.
Since 2006 we have been carrying out this beautiful apostolate which we call “Field days”, consisting of two weeks of intensive activities with the disabled. We have say that, though this initiative has the aim of helping the patients of our homes in their physical and spiritual development, we nevertheless always end up receiving much more than what we had given.
This year we had the assistance of 16 girls who came from Spain for the “2017 Field days”. They had the grace of learning the value of generosity, of self-giving, of patience, and most especially receiving the gratuitous affection which the disabled showed them.
Every morning we had workshops with them and it was impressive to see how the volunteers would be surprised by the talents of those with limited capabilities: theater, painting, sewing, etc. The testimony of the disabled and the teaching they transmitted was palpable, because seeing how they put all their effort into performing these simple tasks, despite their limitations, they showed by example that there is no room for excuses when it comes to giving the maximum in everything that is done.
On the other hand, it is difficult to explain, but it is certainly true that once we discover the presence of Jesus in the sick, it is He Himself who we are treating, just as Christ taught us in saying “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25, 40). Once this presence is uncovered, then you know who you are touching, who you are loving, who you are serving: It is Jesus! Through the disabled persons we have the grace to care for, accompany, wash, feed and clothe Christ himself.
However, the most remarkable thing has undoubtedly been the moments of prayer with the Lord, where He has given us the strength to improve and to arrive at transforming our miseries into something which can serve our neighbor. Sometimes it even surprises us of what we are able to do when we put love into what we are doing, since what gives value to things is not how much we do nor the “greatness” of what we are doing, but, how much love we put into it. We are human beings, and for us, what we do looks very small, but once we give it to God, God is infinite and that little action becomes transformed into an infinite action, because for God there is no measure. We have to find holiness in the work that God entrusts to us; this is the most important thing for Him.
It is worthwhile to mention the vivid joy that there was in the funny competitions between the patients and the volunteers: wheelchair races, water balloons, different songs and dances… moments of such fun, where one could see true joy. And why “true” joy? Because joy is the mystery of love; if you are full of love, then you are also filled with joy, because the joy of Jesus in turn becomes our own.
We commend ourselves to your prayers and invite you to share in this great work.
In Christ and Mary Most Holy, Community “Our Lady of Good Counsel”