Goodbye to lameness

José Ramón Díaz-Torremocha

(Conference of Santa María la Mayor, Guadalajara - Spain)

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To my friend P.


In my article published last November in these pages, which I allow myself to quote with the permission of my dear readers, I wrote about "Inventive Charity" as was its title and I stated that: "We (the Conferences of St. Vincent) were not founded for anything other than to innovate in the face of the sufferings of others". In the Acts, we are told that Peter, in response to a request, answered: "I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ…." (Acts 3,6)

We may not be able to make a lame man walk, I said then, but the Spirit will lend each of us the words, the strength we need and the ability to relieve some of the suffering of others, of our neighbour.

I did not expect at the time that I would receive from a friend a story in which a lame person is indeed made to walk. If the reader is still sympathetic, I will say as a singular and simple definition of lame in this occasion, that of a person who has difficulties to move from one place to another due to a physical cause in most of the cases. But it is also used when we refer to any cause that prevents us from doing something specific: ("he is lame because his lack of education prevents him from choosing what he wants; he is lame because he is too shy to opt for..."). But is there any greater limp today than not being able to accept a job due to the lack of means to travel to the place of potential employment? The powerlessness, when the latter happens and there are several people at home to feed, has added suffering. He is lame, even if he walks with his legs, because he cannot go where he wants and needs that to get a decent job, due to lack of the appropriate means.

Let's go through the little story, part real and part dreamt. The head of the household had found a job after many months. But, as often happens, there was one difficulty: He had to commute many miles away from home every day to take up this new job opportunity! He was somewhat downcast. There was no way he could do it, for among the many things he had lost, one of them was his means of transport, and public transport did not help on this occasion. He would have to decline it and go on living in hardship, and his family with him.

He remembered that a friend of his had a somewhat old-fashioned car of his own, but which most certainly would be very useful to him in his situation.  So, he told him of his need and his friend found the solution.

The car, although still capable of running and providing a good service had some small fault, as has been mentioned, which would certainly be an expensive nuisance for the friend to whom he wanted to give it in order to solve his problem. Just giving him the car was not the full answer. But everything that comes from God has a solution.

Bearing the cost, which he no doubt had to pay, he took the car to a garage to have it serviced and brought up to date. Finally, the paperwork was completed so that the car could be legally handed over to the man that was somewhat lame.

Through his Christian action, the lame man was walking! I said above that I was touched by the friend's action. I was moved because I have often seen numerous attempts to help someone without thinking about the "someone" and what he or she really needs.  I have seen too many times, taking care of what "we" think the other person needs, but without listening to the person in question.  Without listening to the “lame”.

To react in this way, to receive such an example, is a gift from above. A gift you receive from the Merciful One. Thank you, friend P. for your part in the reality of this short story, thank you for this teaching that I can share with other friends in the world.

To my Vincentian friends, let me remind you of the need for prayer in view of the election of a new President General. I encourage you to propose members who seem to you the most suitable for service! Asia, America and Africa offer us a real seedbed of solid and serious candidates.

The more to choose from, the better.  

To Mary, always to Christ with and through Mary.



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