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“Anybody got forty cents?”
It was crowded in the downtown D.C. metro station. Men in suits and women in boots bumped and rushed and squeezed onto the platform. Seven minutes until the next blue train. I joined in the sprawl, with my intern badge and business wear, I fit right in.
“Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents?”
My iPhone buzzed, reminding me that it is 3 o’clock. You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls… I had loved Divine Mercy since my freshman year of high school, when my grandmother gave me a St. Maria Faustina message and devotion prayer book. It was small, with faded pages that I flipped through fervently every night. I was amazed by the words of this little nun, humble and meek, who said Jesus loves and forgives even the greatest sinner. How great is His gift for us.
Six minutes until the blue train. More people streamed in down the escalators. A man with a cane hobbled near the entrance, talking to everyone and no one. A makeshift cast made of duct tape and wood caged his left leg, and his clothes were not enough for almost winter. I continued murmuring my Chaplet. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion…
“Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents? It’s cold outside,” said the man to everyone and no one. The voice was getting louder; he was getting closer. I opened my wallet and pulled out my only dollar.
Have mercy on us and on the whole world. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion…
Jesus promised at this hour, the hour He died, He would deny nothing to a sinner. I began to weep inside for this man being denied forty cents, over and over again. I made my way through the crowd of souls to the one being ignored, and handed him my dollar.
“Thank you,” he said with a toothless grin, then continued his call. “Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents? It’s cold outside.”
Five minutes until the blue train. Where was I? Oh yes. Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood…
The man began making his way through the crowd, which parted gracefully like the Red Sea. The image of Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem, clothes and tree branches on the ground flashed across my mind. Isn’t this how we enter heaven – small and broken, nothing on our backs?
“Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents? It’s cold outside. Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents? It’s cold outside, too cold.” The voice was getting louder in my head, and I wished someone would give him something, anything. I remembered I had half a turkey sandwich in my bag, uneaten from lunch. I weaved my way through the gaps in the crowd he had made. I tapped his shoulder, and he turned around and smiled. “Thanks again, young lady.” People turned and stared. Three minutes until the blue train.
“Are you hungry?” I asked, desperate to give him my sandwich, and anything else he asked for, anything that he needed. I had never felt such love for a homeless man. “Are you hungry? Because I have a sandwich if you want it.”
“Aw no thank you. I can’t eat that. Got no teeth, see,” he pulled his lips down to show his gums. And my heart broke, that the least of us should have nothing, not even teeth.
Know that whatever good you do to any soul, I accept it as if you had done to Me, said Jesus to St. Faustina. The words rang through my soul.
“Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents? It’s cold outside. God is good.” The pleading continued.
Jesus, You are in the lost and the hopeless. You are the widow. You are the orphan. You are the homeless sleeping in the streets. Here I am, with a roof over my head and more than enough blankets in the winter. I don’t know what I have to offer, but I offer it to You.
One minute until the blue train. A man still asking, no one giving.
“Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents? It’s cold outside. God is good.”
Jesus, who carried His cross for me, Jesus who was crucified for me, teach me to live as You died, full of selflessness and love. I can’t possibly return what You gave up for me, so I’ll give it to this man, and to the lost, the hopeless, the widow, the orphan.
The train doors opened. Suits came in and suits came out. One lonely soul stayed on the platform, standing crookedly upon his cane.
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us all.
The doors closed, but still I heard his words through the cracks, and even after, even now.
“Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents? It’s cold outside. God is good. I believe it.”
I believe it.
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May 6, 2013
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