.- In response to societal discrimination against those with disabilities, a blind Spanish advocate says people with handicaps have the right to live and encounter the love of God and others.
Disabled persons “have a right to discover and experience in their lives that God is their companion on their journey, that he is committed to their lives and makes a covenant with them,” said Ignacio Segura Madico, vice president of the International Federation of Catholic Associations for the Blind.
Madico is 44-years-old and lives in Jaen, Spain. He was not born blind but gradually lost his sight as a child. As a handicapped person, he says his joy comes from helping others through his disability.
In an Aug. 6 interview with CNA, Madico said people with disabilities are a gift from God to the Church.
“We need help, but we are also catalysts for help, not only for ourselves but for others, because we allow those who help us to practice charity and love and many other things,” he said.
He also noted that persons with disabilities play key roles in the Gospels.
“In the Gospels, Jesus always draws close to persons with handicaps and with problems, and he does not seek out those who are perfect.”
“There is nothing more tragic for a human being than to feel excluded or to feel that their life is not a cause for joy, and that instead they are a burden and a disappointment,” and every human being can sense this, “no matter how handicapped they are,” Madico noted.
Any physical or spiritual care that does not address these issues deep in the hearts of those with disabilities is merely superficial and incapable of affecting the areas where the true happiness of man is at stake, he said.
“We need to let people develop just as they are, as persons, and it is true that having a child with a handicap is difficult, complicated and hard, but personally, with everything that I have, I want to keep on living.”