To Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on COVID Response
“The Largest Unethical Medical Experiment in Human History”

Blessed by His Love

Church windowBy Cathy Jameson

Originally written in 2017 for a different audience, this older story describes a successful trip to Mass.  I’ve edited it for our AofA readers today. 

From week to week, Ronan’s ability to sit through Mass varies quite a bit. One week, Ronan can sit through an entire Mass.  The next week, he may refuse to even walk into the church.  Lately, there has been no consistency in his ability to be successful at church.  Instead of pushing him to do something he's unable to do yet, the family and I have decided to split up going to church.  My husband goes to the early Mass while I go later.  It's not what we want to do, but it ensures that the rest of us can fulfill our Sunday obligation.  Occasionally, when my husband is traveling for work over a weekend like he was this weekend, I have to get creative.  

I didn't want to send the kids on their own, which I’ve done before.  So I didn't.  I took a chance by taking all five of the kids to the noon Mass.  I'm very happy that we did!  

Ronan recognized where we were going, even though the church was not our home parish, and he easily transitioned into the building.  Upon entering, we found a quiet section and got settled.  Within five minutes, though, Ronan was ready to leave.  I told him we'd do a countdown, and then I prayed that he'd last longer than the 100 seconds I was slowly counting backwards. 

100...99...98...97...96...

He signed ‘all done’ and proceeded to put the kneeler in the up position.  

...95...94...93...92...

Not wanting a struggle, which has happened plenty of times at church in the past, I held his hand and guided him out of the pew.  ‘All done, all done, all done’, he signed.  "I know, buddy.  Let's go back to the car.  The kids will stay here," I whispered.  Ronan hesitated.  The kids?  He looked back at his siblings and froze.  A confused look came over him as he pointed to them.  

I repeated, "Yes, the kids are staying."  

Ronan didn't like that answer, so he sat in the pew we were trying to go around.  Pointing a very straight index finger at his big sister, he indicated that he wanted her to come with us.  "Oh, she's staying," I quietly reiterated.  Ronan started to tap his hand on his leg, a self-regulation technique he does when we do a countdown to help keep himself calm.  He "taps down" letting me know that he knows that an end is in sight.  

...91...90...

Ronan pointed again to the other siblings.  I reminded him that they were staying for the entire Mass as well.  He was not pleased, but he did not get frustrated when I shared that information.  He contemplated quietly before pointing to the siblings.  Hoping they'd come with him, he began to tap his leg once more.

...89...

Then he picked up the Bible.  

Then he started thumbing through the Bible.  

Then he started to read it! 

At this point, Fiona walked over to where we were.  With a smile on her face, she encouraged him to keep sitting quietly and to keep reading.  If he could stay in the church, I could stay, too.  It looked like he could do that.  She and I beamed!  I smiled even more when the other siblings, about four pews ahead of us, glanced back at us.  Signing to them, Fiona let them know that Ronan was reading the Bible.  Wide-eyed and grinning, they were as excited as we were.  

Ronan was content.  He kept his focus in the New Testament section and gravitated toward St. Paul's letters.  For ten minutes, he scanned pages, read, pointed to words, and read some more.  Engrossed in all that he saw, Fiona and I noticed that he kept going back to two verses - one in Revelations about Jesus' second coming and this one from Hebrews: 

"Never will I leave you:

never will I forsake you."

So we say with confidence,

"The Lord is my helper,

I will not be afraid.

                    What can man do to me?" (Heb 13: 5-6)

He was not going to leave those siblings behind.  How profound! 

Ronan flipped back and forth through the books of the Bible during the rest of the Mass.  He wanted to leave during Communion but did a great job waiting for all of us to have the chance to receive.  With five minutes left, Fiona flashed me another smile.  She was so proud of her brother.  He did a great job, and he was able to lean on her to help make it through something he is usually unable to tolerate.  

After we returned home that day, I found myself repeating the verse:  "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid..."  I do fear things - like the seizures, like the other medical problems, like being able to afford everything a special needs child needs.  But a message I needed to remember was clear - The Lord will help.  

And He has.

I know that God helps me.  Every single day, I am blessed by His love.  Not only was that message clear, it was so perfectly timed and delivered by the always-inspiring Ronan.  What a treat it was for us to be at Mass with him that day!

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.

Comments

Morag

That's just great, don't let the rules and regulations interfere with the positive expectations.

Christopher & Grace Duffley sing "Hold Me " You Tube

Hera

Normally, I try and keep religion out of it, but for at least for some Christians :
Matthew 25:40-45
“The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.
The obligation to treat those in need well is for many a basic religious requirement. Of course, whether a particular church actually chooses to do so, or not, is, as you point out , in this world of free will,entirely up to them.
Of course, how they respond to those in need also says a lot both about who they are, and about what their religion really stands for.

Angus Files

Will good points but my son likes the repetiveness of church all orderly day after day after day and he knows not where heaven is, or hell is, or who Jesus is, but it brings joy to his heart to attend-nobody should be denied that for being autistic just because of strangeness for giving out the odd yell as my son does and nobody objects to it as they all know him.Live and let live not die so we can live which seems to be the motto of many these days.

Pharma For Prison

MMR RIP

Mayhem Global

Will

You make a very interesting point, but if charity is supposed to lie at the heart of the religion then it should welcome even those who do not have the intellect to grasp all of doctrine, for their families if no one else.

Grace Green

Will,
You raise a hugely important question in your comment. I'm no theologian and I'm sure this one has been discussed at length by those much more intelligent than me. My only thoughts are, hopefully the mentally disabled person will experience the love of the congregation and not the fear-mongering that you describe. Having said that, I and my sons were forced out of just about every religion under the sun, not just Christian. At one I was told my 2 year old wasn't normal because he was too well behaved! At another the pastor said, "We should never have stopped burning witches", looking straight at me! I'm glad that the Jamesons are having a better experience. But religions are organized by humans. I believe god will "judge" us according to the abilities we each have at our disposal. There is also the possibility of miracles. Some of us have little else to hope for.

Will

A church is under no obligation to accommodate screaming aggressive "autistic" children or adults who do not grasp the concept of religion or even basic politics for that matter. I am not very religious but I have autism and at least I understand religions and politics and many "autistic" adults are too intellectually disabled to understand even which is their right or left foot and arms. I bet some religious fundamentalist will "dumb down' religion for those with intellectual disabilities and autism to a Fear and Power basic dynamics. This would be with boring polemics and theology like "you believe god he save you, you no believe you go to hell" Instead of critical thinking and complex apologetics.

Gayle

Jesus said "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Our children are the kind of people Jesus was referring to when he said those beautiful words. Our children are the kindest, most innocent people on the earth and are deserving of receiving Communion whether they are verbal or not. The Catholic Church is truly showing great hypocrisy ignoring the very words of Jesus and denying our children the ability to receive Holy Communion. Shame on them.

Gayle

I am so happy for you and your family Cathy, that Ronan sat through the entire mass and you were even able to receive communion. Attending mass is difficult for our autistic children as they really need to develop the patience to sit through an entire mass, which usually lasts an hour and they can get restless. My son is now an adult and he is able to sit through an entire mass with no problem as he has developed the patience and understanding to do so after many years experience. Your son will also be able to sit through mass successfully as he gets older and develops more experience. You will see it happen gradually over the years and it will bring joy to your heart as it did to our family. God Bless you and I hope this helps you to feel better about the future for you and your family on Sundays.

Marie Simonton

Mr. Moffit, This hypocrisy in the Catholic church is exactly why our family now goes to a Christian church. They have a special needs ministry with wonderful people who make my son feel welcome and not like a nuisance. I hope you can find a church that is truly an example of Jesus and his love for ALL of us. God bless you and yours.

Angus Files

Covid autism fitting I always think.

Hebrew Slaves Chorus
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VejTwFjwVI

Pharma For Prison

MMR RIP

Bob Moffit

Would have thought by now .. after so many years and so many Catholic autistic non-verbal children .. the Catholic church would have resolved a way to provide our children with various Catholic rites of passage .. including communion .. rather than simply denying them communion for being "non-verbal"? Is it me or does this seem a rather harsh to deny them the holy sacrament of Communion?
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/religion/church-denied-8-year-old-boy-first-communion-because-he-n1144341

"Jimmy LaCugna said in a Facebook post that he and his wife were informed Tuesday by the Rev. John Bambrick at Saint Aloysius Church that their son Anthony won't be able to participate in the religious ceremony because he feels the boy is "unable to determine right from wrong due to his disability."

LaCugna said they were told that Anthony, who is nonverbal, is not at the "benchmark required to make his communion."

"This is very hard and upsetting to comprehend when we all are created by God and now our son is being shunned from the Catholic faith due to his inability to communicate," LaCugna wrote, adding that his son "wouldn't even be able to create a sin because he is one of the sweetest and innocent little boy someone would ever meet."

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