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Louis is a missionary from his wheelchair

Louis waits in his room, settled in his black wheelchair, back and head very straight. He hardly moves, yet he embodies the exact opposite of inertia. Louis lives, and lives fully.

Growing up with disability

You’d think life had been rough on him, or even disinherited him. At the age of two and a half, he was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. This progressive genetic disease affects the muscles, which become progressively weaker and then paralyzed. As he grew older, Louis lost the use of his arms, then his legs. His respiratory capacity also diminished: the young man is placed on respiratory assistance at night and will soon be during the day. “It’s difficult, but when you have something to live for, you move on,” he says with a smile.

Is illness an injustice? He replies:

No. It’s a test. In our lives, we all suffer at some point: we just have to give another dimension to that suffering. Faith is what makes that possible. Faith means remembering the mystery of the Incarnation: I firmly believe that Christ came to share my suffering. He doesn’t shrink from it; he comes close to it. This helps us understand that God doesn’t want suffering; he fights it. And more than that, he comes to join us in it.

Inalienable dignity

And what about his dignity? Does he feel that it has been damaged, diminished, or cut off? “It’s today’s society that wants to sell off our dignity,” he replies in a voice tinged with anger and indignation. “As if suffering took away dignity! It’s a huge mistake to think that human dignity can be lost: We have dignity because we are human. Dignity is inalienable. What we need to do is fight against loneliness and exclusion; that’s what kills people.”

Read more at Aleteia 

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