This is about those situations when we find ourselves dealing with persons whom we consider to be difficult to be with for a number of reasons. Aside from the usual differences and the avoidable conflicts we can have among ourselves due to the variety in our temperaments, views, beliefs, taste and style, we may also have to deal in a more or less permanent way with persons with certain disabilities that are much harder to bear.
Their disabilities may be physical only, which actually can be more bearable than the more serious ones, like the mental, psychological, spiritual, moral, etc. A person with hearing disability is easier to bear with than one with a mental illness. Just the same, when we happen to live with persons with such disabilities, we should be ready to deal with them properly.
And that can only mean that we have to deal with them not only patiently, but also most charitably, always showing affection and compassion even if they seem to be most unreasonable and undeserving of our attention and care. That temptation can come to our mind anytime. We have to be ready and quick to dismiss it.
When we have to live with persons with disabilities, we have to remind ourselves strongly that we are actually given a good occasion to prove our love for God and for everyone. We have to remind ourselves that these persons with such annoying disabilities actually can sanctify us. They should not just be regarded as a mortifying presence in our life.
Thus, we should really rev up our God-given gifts of faith, hope and charity, since only then can we manage to properly deal with these persons. If we would just rely on our human powers, there is no way we can go far in dealing with them properly. It would just be a matter of time before we get dominated by anger, bitterness and despair that can trigger a further slide into more dangerous states of mind.
These days, with so many things filling our mind with all sorts of concerns, we really need to pause, build up and maintain the necessary attitude and skills in dealing with such persons. We should not just be casual about this responsibility which can spell whether we would be sheep or goat during judgment day.
Let’s remember that it is in our treatment with the little ones and the difficult ones that we can show whether we are with our God or not, whether our love, for which we are made, is genuine or fake.
Let’s remember too that a true sign of genuine love, a love that channels the love of God in us, is when we are willing to suffer for the others, when we are willing to bear the burdens of the others.
Let’s never forget what Christ said about how to follow him. It’s when we manage to deny ourselves and carry the cross. (cfr. Mt 16,24) Thus, if we manage to bear the burdens of the others, we can show that our love acquires its divine, supernatural character. It’s not just any human form of love.
So, let’s welcome the opportunity to live with persons with such disabilities that usually would cause us irritation and annoyance if dealt with only naturally. These persons truly can sanctify us by mortifying us in love.*