God’s surprising gift

By Tom Quiner

Seldom have I seen such a powerful display of life.

I sat at a beautiful Mass this past Sunday on what is known as Divine Mercy Sunday in the Catholic Church. I attended a different Church than my home parish just to hear a visiting Cardinal, Cardinal Rigali.

One doesn’t hear a Cardinal every day of the week.

St. John’s Basilica was beautiful.

The choir, the violins, the organ, the brass … everything sounded like it tumbled onto man directly from heaven.

What a day.

And yet something stood out more than the visiting Cardinal and all of these other things.

It was a young man in the first row.

I watched him singing the opening hymn.

He doesn’t sing like you and me. I’m not talking about his voice. I couldn’t even hear him over all the other voices.

It was his demeanor, his expression, his joy.

He sang as if there was but a single person in the entire Church: Jesus. This young man sang with an unrestrained jubilation for the gift of his life to the giver of that gift, God.

His arms waved.

His head bobbed.

He poured all the love in his heart, which I suspect is a lot, toward heaven.

He had to be in the first pew, because he needed quite a bit of space to move around. He just had that much love of life in him that a single pew would probably cramp his style!

I couldn’t believe it.

And then he turned. I could see the side of his face. This young man had Downs.

God was telling me something.

He hit me over the head on just what a gift our lives are. He was reminding me of His boundless Love, of His boundless Mercy.

God sends us these beautiful people as one of His special gifts. These kids who carry that extra chromosome, which has been characterized as the “Love Chromosome,” are a gift to us from God.

They know how to love life better than the rest of us.

We have much to learn from them.

As I wrote in a previous post, we abort about nine out of ten kids who carry that extra Love Chromosome.

We must not be very smart to turn our backs on such a gift of love.

I may never meet the young man I saw singing last Sunday. But I shall never forget him.