Hunts Point is an area of the S. Bronx long known for its poverty, crime, drugs and prostitution. It is making great efforts to come back against strong odds. For a number of years we have taken the LAMPcafe (LAMP’s “food & faith” truck) there on Wednesdays. We park next to a shelter for homeless persons, and across the street from a Monastery of Cloistered Dominican Sisters, who know our presence and pray for us. We have recently been helped by two Jesuit Seminarians whose Summer formation plans had to be adjusted, freeing them to help us at this outreach. Maggie, a new LAMP Missionary who came to LAMP about 2 weeks before NYC’s lockdown this past March, shares a recent experience with a guest at the LAMPcafe. Here is her witness:
Recently at Hunt’s Point in the Bronx, a beautiful, scared woman approached the LAMPcafe. She wore a platinum wig and had a soft and kind smile. As I handed her a sandwich she looked up at Jeff (a Jesuit seminarian), and I, and shared, “Guess what I found this morning, it was right by me when I woke up.”
From her purse, she brought out a quarter size tin container with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe on the cover. Her voice trembled as she said, “I can’t believe what’s inside.” She opened the tin and broke out in tears, saying, “It’s a mirror.”
After a heartfelt pause, I asked, “What do you see in the mirror?”
Her eyes welled with tears again, and she had a hard time speaking.
Looking into her eyes, I saw the reflection immediately, and uttered: “A beloved daughter. You see a beloved daughter.”
She nodded tenderly in affirmation, smiled, thanked us, and walked away.
Encounters like that are pure Grace since they reveal God’s truth, beauty, and goodness in the moment. What else are we meant to do in this life than to be reflections of love for each other?
Be a gift.
That’s the essence of Jesus’s love I experienced between all three of us at Hunt’s Point that day. May the Lord continue to bless and to show us our true identity as beloved children of God.