Last week I posted a photograph in my “five favorites” of Pope Francis hugging a man who suffers from a rare disease called neurofibromatosis Type 1. This disease began to take root and change his physical appearance at the young age of 15, causing painful large tumors to grow throughout his body.
As you can see from the picture, this man knows what it is to suffer.
His name is Vincio Riva, and he recently was interviewed about his awesome experience.
I was SO deeply moved by the picture alone, but now I am equally, if not more moved by what this man had to say:
“His hands were so soft. And his smile was so clear and open. But the thing that struck me most is that he didn’t think twice about whether or not to hug me,” he said. “I’m not contagious, but he did not know. He just did it: he caressed me all over my face, and as he did I felt only love.”
He later mentions that because of his disease, he has had to suffer a lot of emotional pain from passers by and strangers. “Those who I have known for a long time are kind; the others are horrible.”
Yet this meeting with Pope Francis was a new beginning for him. “Later I turned to my aunt and told her: “Here I leave my pain.”
Here I leave my pain. What a powerful and brave statement. Bravo! Thank you Vincio, for being such an example to us all!
Three things I learned from Vincio and the Pope:
1. Love more
2. Vanity is pointless
3. Leave your pain with the Lord. He’ll take care of it.