Like Fr. Greg Boyle does pretty much every day.
“Close both eyes; see with the other one. Then, we are no longer saddled by the burden of our persistent judgments, our ceaseless withholding, our constant exclusion. Our sphere has widened, and we find ourselves, quite unexpectedly, in a new, expansive location, in a place of endless acceptance and infinite love. We’ve wandered into God’s own.”
― Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
Today I can’t even imagine being able to approach life this high and wide. I’ve been watching Fr. Boyle, G-Dawg as the homies call him, for awhile now, and read Tattoos on the Heart a few times. The guy has a genius all his own — homegrown, funny, liberal, generous. He makes huge audiences cry and laugh and go out better by telling hilarious tales of garbled English and big bravery in the face of senseless violence. He has worked in a barrios of gangs in Los Angeles for thirty years, building a school and then Homeboy Industries. Jobs not jails. Now it is a force of recovery for fifteen thousand homeboys and homegirls a year, a forty million annual budget.
Just writing about this amazing work nudges me off my dead butt to get doing the next right thing, past the paralysis of analysis, over that next hurdle right in front. Yeah, that one. Pray. Walk the dog. Do some Yoga. Fight on, ’cause you ain’t dead yet. You are just the way God made ya’.
Those Jesuits get it right — the original program Jesus had in mind. Standing with the poor, the marginalized, as one body, using all the resources at hand toward a little kinder way. When it’s broken down as well as G-Dawg makes it, it seems doable.