Can My Neurodivergent Daughter Have A Relationship With God?

by Parenting

 I often wonder how God is interacting with my autistic daughter. Everyone’s inner relationship with God is to some extent secret, but for many we have learned to recognize the imprint of the Spirit on a person. Indeed, we have a very convenient list of such things in the gifts of the holy spirit; wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. 

Those gifts look different in a person with a disability, and they might be hard for us to recognize. Is God still there? Is his Holy Spirit still dwelling in my daughter’s heart? What if she can’t go to confession, or receive Holy Communion? What if her faith never looks like mine, or the faith of others that I regularly see demonstrated at Mass, family prayer time, and faith formation?

It’s an easy question to get sucked into, “What if?” The good news is that the answer to this one is pretty simple. That’s not to say that it’s easy to have peace about it (at least not for me), but it is simple. The answer is, God’s love cannot, will not, be stopped. End of story.

God is constantly accommodating us humans. From speaking through prophets, to appearing in forms we could at least somewhat comprehend (fire, smoke, thunder, etc.), to the incarnation itself, God is constantly meeting us on our level. God has given us so much, and especially in the Sacraments and in sacramentals. God uses the things of this world to reach us on so many levels from the sight of stained glass, the sounds of prayer, and the smell of incense, God is reaching out to us. The “smells and bells” are each and every one of them the outstretched hand of God reaching out. He is not confined to a single method.

Just so, the love your child has, however it shows up, whether it shows up on the outside or not, is the love that God asks for. He delights in that love. And whatever obstacles exist will not stop Him. St. Paul says,

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38-39

God’s love is present in every life; He is not limited. His grace will flow to them just as powerfully and fully as to anyone else.

What about the sacraments? Aren’t they special conduits of grace? What if my child cannot receive them? 

God’s love cannot, will not, be stopped. What He can do through the sacraments He can do directly. The Blessed Mother is an example of this. The ordinary way to be cleansed from original sin is baptism, but Mary was conceived without sin. That grace was given to her before Christ came to Earth to give us the sacrament. God is not limited. He loves you. He loves your family. That love cannot be stopped. Do not be afraid if your child’s faith doesn’t look like yours, or their peer’s, or anyone’s. God loves to accommodate us. He’s been doing it since Eden.

Find more great Catholic content for children and ideas to implement with your family HERE!

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