David, Matthias, Luigi and Ricky
Jean Vanier said in one of his talks that a child has an extraordinary power to slip through our narrow prison bars (selfishness, prejudices, defenses) to touch that vulnerable, tender corner of our heart, and to touch us in order to release a flood of tenderness from that seemingly hardened heart.
Yes, children teach us a lot of things, even those so-called “special children”. In our field of apostolate at Bahay San Rafael Orphanage, San Riccardo Pampuri Center (Amadeo, Cavite), the home of eight cerebral palsy kids, you will experience being taught how to love. These kids will soften your heart, make you reflect the mystery of life in them, and their existence will make you taste the heart of God that beats on them and that speaks through them. Yes, staying there is more than just playing with them, feeding and cleaning them, you have to go beyond their defects.
It was not that easy for us to deal with them and to fully enter into their world during our first days of charity works there. It was not that easy to turn sadness into joy, strange feeling into tender caress. It took little courage to accept the reality and to open our hearts to them. There, compassion is the air that we breathe and the touch of love is the language that bridges the gap between their world and us. Together with some other lay volunteers, we let them feel that we are their “kuyas” willing to share life with them.
These kids are special not because they are handicapped but because they will remain God’s favorite ones. They are special because you can see in them more than your naked eyes can see.
Bahay San Rafael Orphanage is cared for by the Hospitaller (Juan de Dios) Brothers.