A couple weeks ago, I found love in a hopeless place. I saw Christ in acts of selfless, holy love.
I was heading into an important meeting – a site visit with a Foundation at one of our IVC partner agencies “My Brother’s Keeper”, a social service center in west Baltimore. The site visit was a key step in our grant application process, and I went to support the request and answer questions.
As I got out of my car the IVC volunteer Dick, who was joining us for the site visit was also arriving for the meeting and we walked into the building together.
As we entered the building it was only a nano-second before several of the guests who come to receive services at the center eagerly approached Dick to shake his hand, tell him about their day, reaching out just to be with him. Dick’s face was glowing with genuine love and attentiveness for each and every man or woman who came up to him. These men and women were clearly street-worn people and are most likely used to people every day walking past them avoiding eye contact. Not with Dick.
When they encountered Dick they were alive, valued – loved. Dick was fully present to each person, listening carefully and attentively. There was no rushing Dick to the meeting. Dick took the time to introduce them to me with grace and dignity. I was soon swept up in the circle of smiles and engagement Dick brought out of these people he serves.
I felt directly the “Christ-effect” of Dick’s presence of unconditional love and attentiveness. I saw Christ born in his face and his presence with these men and women. I saw Christ smiling back at him in their faces.
Later in our site visit meeting with the members of the foundation, the Executive Director, Danise Jones-Dorsey, conveyed the importance of the work that Dick does for the service center and emphasized the core of his work is in the gift of integrity and dignity that he bestows with everyone he serves. She stressed to the foundation how important being given the gift of dignity and humanity is at the core of their mission. Without a sense of dignity she said that the services of food, shelter and job training can’t take root and transform poverty. She also conveyed how it is clear that the spirituality of IVC is at the heart of this gift of service that while not easily quantifiable is powerful and transformative.
Thank you for your individual role of making it possible to bring people like Dick into service in our community, and supporting them. Whether it’s as a Volunteer, Spiritual Reflector, Staff Member, Partner Agency member, Regional Council Member, as a Benefactor to IVC, or someone interested in and committed to our mission. We are grateful for you for these encounters.
Let’s celebrate a New Year that sees IVC prosper and magnify so that more people experience the uplifting love of Christ through Ignatian Volunteers!
Mary C. McGinnity, Executive Director