The Least of These

Posted By on July 17, 2009

Today My Charming and Patient Husband and I were discussing the Church, and where people with learning disabilities feel comfortable and welcomed, and a thought occurred to me: that in many venues, they might be thought of as “the least.” But if you think about it at all, if you have any value for humanity, every human being is — must be — of equal worth. How can we judge one person as less than another because he or she is less intelligent? Is there a smaller place in heaven for those who can’t analyze equations or understand theology?

Unfortunately, we live in a world that seems to worship not God or goodness, but intelligence. It is a sad offshoot of self-worship. If “I think therefore I am” is true, then “I think better therefore I am better” is a natural extension. But is it true? Is it fair? Is it kind?

Intelligence is a gift, and I believe that we should use every gift God has given us, and treasure it. But the ability to think deeply is not superior to the capacity to love, or a generosity of spirit, or an attitude of humility. And if I had to choose between my intelligence and my salvation, I would choose salvation. I pray that I never have to make such a choice, but goodness trumps brains in the virtue department every time.

I like that the Catholic Church is welcoming to people of all levels of intelligence and development. You don’t have to be an adult or a thinker to come to the fountain of living water. You don’t even have to understand the sacraments. Babies, adults, people with disabilities… all are welcome, and one doesn’t need to know or understand to receive God’s blessing.


2 Responses to “The Least of These”

  1. Amanda says:

    Great post. I have always felt comfortable being in the Church, even when surrounded by people who are more intelligent and know more about Catholicism than I do. My husband is a cradle Catholic and I joined when I was 19. Both of us are always learning new things. It’s such a big, all-encompassing faith, and so refreshing to be a part of it and to share it with people like you. 🙂

  2. I frequently feel like the strongest members are the converts. So many cradle Catholics are here by default, but converts are here by conscious choice.

Leave a Reply