Tag Archive: Father Gregory Boyle


One of the most powerful passages from the book i am busy finishing at the moment, because it will start with laughter and end in tears. Such a powerful read:

I suppose that the number of homies I’ve baptised over the decades is in the thousands. Gang members find themselves locked up and get around to doing things their parents didn’t arrange for them. Homies are always walking up to me at Homeboy Industries or on the streets or in a jail, saying, “Remember? You baptised me!”

The moment of a homie’s baptism can be an awakening, like the clearing of a new path. You can tell it’s a gang member’s declaration that life will thereafter look different because of this pronouncement and its symbols. Consequently, the moment of baptism is charged with import and nerves. 

One day at Juvenile Hall, I am introduced to a kid I am about to baptise. I have never met him, but he knows who I am. He is saucer-eyed and panicky and bouncing slightly up and down. I shake his hand.

“I’m proud to be the one baptising you,” I say.

He tears up a bit and won’t let go of my hand and my eyes.

“Clockwise,” he says.

I always tell those to be baptised that they have little to do and should leave all the heavy lifting to me. “All you have to say is your name when I ask for it. Then I’ll ask, “What do you ask of God’s church?” and you just say, “Baptism.”

When the moment arrives at the beginning of the rite, I can tell this kid is in trouble. He’s hyperventilating, and his constant jig suggests he didn’t visit the men’s room before. 

“What is your name?” I ask, and the kid booms back at me,

“JOSE LOPEZ.”

“And what do you ask of God’s church, Jose?”

He stands erect, and his whole being wants to get this one right. “I WANT TO BE A BAPTIST.”

I suggest he walk down the hall to the Protestant service.

Once, as I am about to baptise a kid at a probation camp, I ask him to incline his head over this huge pan of water, and he looks at me with shock and loudly asks, “You gonna WET me?”

“Um, well, yeah… sorta the idea.”

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On a Saturday in 1996 I am set to baptise George at Camp Munz. He delays doing this with the other priests because he only wants me to do it. He also wants to schedule the event to follow his successful passing of the GED exam. He sees it as something of a twofer celebration. I actually know seventeen-year-old George and his nineteen-year-old brother, Cisco. Both are gang members from a barrio in the projects, but I have only really come to know George over his nine-month stint in this camp. I have watched him move gradually from his hardened posturing to being a man in possession of himself and his gifts. Taken out of the environment that keeps him unsettled and crazed, not surprisingly, he begins to thrive at Camp Munz. Now he is nearly unrecognisable. The hard vato with his gangster pose has morphed into a thoughtful, measured man, aware of gifts and talents previously obscured by the unreasonable demands of his gang life.

The Friday night before George’s baptism, Cisco, George’s brother, is walking home before midnight when the quiet is shattered, as it so often is in his neighborhood, by gunshots. Some rivals creep up and open fire, and Cisco falls in the middle of St Louis. street, half a block from his apartment. He is killed instantly. His girlfriend, Annel, nearly eight months pregnant with their first child, runs outside. She cradles Cisco in her arms and lap, rocking him as if to sleep, and her screams syncopate with every motion forward. She continues this until the paramedics pry him away from her arms.

I don’t sleep much that night. It occurs to me to cancel my presence at the Mass next morning at Camp Munz to be with Cisco’s grieving family. But then I remember George and his baptism.

When I arrive before Mass, with all the empty chairs in place in the mess hall, there is George standing by himself, holding his newly acquired GED certificate. He heads toward me, waving his GED and beaming. We hug each other. He is in a borrowed, ironed, crisp white shirt and a thin black tie. His pants are the regular, camp-issue camouflage, green and brown. I am desvelado, completely wiped out, yet trying to keep my excitement at pace with George’s.

At the beginning of Mass, with the mess hall now packed, I ask him, “What is your name?” 

“George Martinez,” he says, with an overflow of confidence.

“And, George, what do you ask of God’s church?”

“Baptism,” he says, with a steady, barely contained smile.

It is the most difficult baptism of my life. For as I pour water over George’s head: “Father… Son… Spirit,” I know I will walk George outside alone after and tell him what happened.

As I do, and I put my arm around him, I whisper gently as we walk out onto the baseball field, “George, your brother Cisco was killed last night.”

I can feel all the air leave his body as he heaves a sigh that finds itself in a sob in an instant. We land on a bench. His face seeks refuge in his open palms, and he sobs quietly. Most notable is what isn’t present in his rocking and gentle wailing. I’ve been in this place before many times. There is always flailing, and rage and promises to avenge things. There is none of this in George. It is as if the commitment he has just made in water, oil, and flame has taken hold and his grief is pure and true and more resembles the heartbreak of God. George seems to offer proof of the efficacy of this thing we call sacrament, and he manages to hold back all the complexity of this great sadness, right here, on this bench, in his tender weeping. I had previously asked him in his baptismal rite, after outlining the contours of faith and the commitment “to live as though this truth was true.” “Do you clearly understand what you are doing?”

And he pauses, and he revs himself up in the gathering of self and soul and says, “Yes, I do.”

And, yes, he does. In the monastic tradition, the highest form of sanctity is to live in hell and not lose hope. George clings to his hope and his faith and his GED certificate and chooses to march, resilient, into his future.

What is the delivery system for resilience? In part, it’s the loving, caring adult who pays attention. It’s the community of unconditional love, representing the very “no matter whatness” of God. They say that an educated inmate will not re-offend. This is not because an education assures that this guy will get hired somewhere. It is because his view is larger and more educated, so that he can be rejected at ninety-three job interviews and still not give up. He’s acquired resilience.

Sometimes resilience arrives in the moment you discover your own unshakeable goodness. Poet Galway Kinnell writes, “Sometimes it’s necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness.”

And when that happens, we begin to foster tenderness for our own human predicament. A spacious and undefended heart finds room for everything you are and carves space for everybody else. 

[From the chapter ‘Water, Oil, Flame’ – Tattoos of the Heart – Father Gregory Boyle]

[For another inspiring passage from this book, titled My New Heart Tattoo, click here]

If i was sharing every chapter and excerpt i enjoyed from  ‘Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion’ by Father Gregory Boyle, which i have been reading and really being deeply moved by, then the whole book would pretty much be in here. But i am wanting you to get hold of the book and so am only sharing a story or a passage from every couple of chapters in the book. There is some great challenge and inspiration but also moments of great sadness and emotion as Father Boyle has buried hundreds of the gangsters and ex gangsters that worked with him over the years and so a story of hope might a paragraph later be followed by a senseless death. I am hoping that these extracts will keep you motivated and inspired while you wait for your ordered copy of the book to arrive. In this chapter, Father Boyle responds to the question people often ask in terms of ‘How successful is your ministry?’:

‘Sr Elaine Roulette, the founder of My Mother’s House in New York, was asked, “How do you work with the poor?” She answered, “You don’t. You share your life with the poor.” It’s as basic as crying together. It is about “casting your lot” before it ever becomes about “changing their lot.”

Success and failure, ultimately have little to do with living the gospel. Jesus just stood with the outcasts until they were welcomed or until He was crucified – whichever came first.

The American poet Jack Gilbert writes, “The pregnant heart is driven to hopes that are the wrong size for this world.” The strategy and stance of Jesus was consistent in that it was always out of step with the world. Jesus defied all the categories upon which the world insisted: good-evil, success-failure, pure-impure. Surely He was an equal opportunity pisser-offer in this regard. 

The Right wing would stare at Him and question where He chose to stand. They hated that He aligned Himself with the unclean, those outside – those folks you ought neither to touch nor be near. He hobnobbed with the leper, shared table fellowship with the sinner, and rendered Himself ritually impure in the process. They found it offensive that, to boot, Jesus had no regard for their wedge issues, their controversial amendments or their culture wars.

The Left was equally annoyed. They wanted to see the ten point plan, the revolution in high gear, the toppling of sinful social structures. They were impatient with His brand of solidarity. They wanted to see Him taking the right stand on issues, not just standing in the right place.

But Jesus just stood with the outcast. The Left screamed: “Don’t just stand there, do something.” And the Right maintained: “Don’t stand with those folks at all.” Both sides, seeing Jesus the wrong size for this world, came to their own reasons for wanting Him dead. Both sides were equally impressed as He unrolled the scroll and spoke of “good news to the poor”… “sight to the blind”… “liberty to the captives”. Yet only a handful of verses later, they want to throw Jesus over a cliff. 

How do we get the world to change anyway? Dorothy Day asked critically: “Where were the saints to try and change the social order? Not just minister to the slaves, but to do away with slavery?” Dorothy Day is a hero of mine, but I disagree with her here. You actually abolish slavery by accompanying the slave. We don’t strategise our way out of slavery, we solidarise, if you will, our way toward its demise. We stand in solidarity with the slave, and by so doing, we diminish slavery’s ability to stand. By casting our lot with the gang member, we hasten the demise of demonising. All Jesus asks is, “Where are you standing?” And after chilling defeat and soul-numbing failure, He asks again, “Are you still standing there?”

Can we stay faithful and persistent in our fidelity even when things seem not to succeed? I suppose Jesus could have chosen a strategy that worked better (evidence-based outcomes) – that didn’t end in the Cross – but He could’t find a strategy more soaked with fidelity than the one He embraced. 

[from the chapter titled ‘Success’]

success2

and a little further on:

Jesus was always too busy being faithful to worry about success. I’m not opposed to success; I just think we should accept it only if it is a by-product of our fidelity. If our primary concern is results, we will choose to work only with those who give us the good ones. 

Myriad are the examples at Homeboy Industries of homies colouring way outside the lines and being given their ninety-eighth chance. Maybe it’s because we are often forced to start where others have stopped. Some of my senior staff wanted to change our motto, printed on our T-shirts, from “Nothing stops a bullet like a job” to “You just can’t disappoint us enough.” Others would mention that there seems to be no consequences for some actions, and, of course, in the real world, there are consequences. Someone told me once, “I mean, what’s it take to get fired at Homeboy – release nerve gas?” When it seems the best thing for a person, I have, often enough, fired someone. I call the person in and say, “The day won’t ever come when I will withdraw love and support from you. I am simply in your corner until the wheels fall off. Oh, by the way, I have to let you go.” They always agree with me. Nearly always.

There is no question that everybody working at Homeboy would have been fired anywhere else [including me, I suppose – just ask my board]. But as Mark Torres, S.J., beloved spiritual guide at Homeboy Industries, says, “We see in the homies what they don’t see in themselves, until they do.”

There was a homegirl, straight out of prison, with award-winning and alarming tattoos all over her face. She began work at the silkscreen. First day, a fight. Second day, she came in utterly illuminated on “chronic” [marijuana]. Third day, she arrived at work, in a car filled with her homies [this is against our rules]. Oh, and the car was stolen [this is against, well, everybody’s rules]. I suppose we could have fired her. And yet we decided, with all the “no matter whatness” we could muster, that she would give up on us long before we would ever give up on her. And give up she did. She just stopped showing up. We’ll be ready for her when she comes back. You stand with the least likely to succeed until success is succeeded by something more valuable: kinship. You stand with the belligerent, the surly, and the badly behaved until bad behaviour is recognised for the language it is: the vocabulary of the deeply wounded and of those whose burdens are more than they can bear.

Jesus jostled irreparably the purity code of the shot callers of His day. He recognised that it was precisely this code that kept folks from kinship. Maybe success has become the new purity code. And Jesus shows us that the desire for purity [nine times out of ten] is, in fact, the enemy of the gospel.

Funders sometimes say, “We don’t fund efforts; we fund outcomes.” We all hear this and think how sensible, practical, realistic, hard-nosed, and clear-eyed it is. But maybe Jesus doesn’t know why we’re nodding so vigorously. Without wanting to, we sometimes allow our preference for the poor to morph into a preference for the well-behaved and the most likely to succeed, even if you get better outcomes when you work with those folks. 

If success is our engine, we sidestep the difficult and belligerent and eventually abandon “the slow work of God”.

Failure and death become insurmountable.

[To read the next passage, with laughter and tears, titled ‘The Power of Water’, click here]

A third extract from ‘Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion’ by Father Gregory Boyle, which you should clearly be able to gather by now i am adding to my ‘Books i would love for all my friends to read’ list so just do it already. So brief background to this short piece is that Father Boyle works predominantly with gangsters and ex-gangsters through a number of different businesses that fall under the banner of Homeboy Industries which means that guys [and sometimes girls] from rival gangs often end up working side by side:

‘No question gets asked of me more than, “What’s it like having enemies working together?”

The answer: it is almost always tense at first. A homie will beg for a job, and perhaps I have an opening at the Bakery. 

“But you’re gonna have to work with X, Y and Z,” naming enemies already working there. He thinks a bit, and invariably will say: “I’ll work with him, but I’m not gonna talk to him.”

In the early days, this would unsettle me. Until I discovered that it always becomes impossible to demonize someone you know.’

gregory boyle

‘I take two recently hired enemies, Artie and Danny to Oakland for a talk I am going to give. They will man the table in the front and sell Homeboy and Homegirl merchandise. The trip is excrutiating as they will not speak to each other. I carry the ball entirely in the conversation and only occasionally do they grunt assent or nod, “uh-huh.”

Before the talk, we’re standing on the terrace at our hotel, overlooking a boardwalk along the water, near Jack London Square in Oakland. [Brett: That is literally a block away from where tbV and i work!] We stand there in silence watching the people below. I give up trying to keep things conversational. 

Down below there is a sweet old couple, probably married well beyond fifty years. They are holding hands. Danny elbows Artie and points at the old couple. “That’s disgusting.”

Cómo que ‘disgusting’?” I turn on him. “It’ sweet. It’s an old couple.”

“Still,” Danny says, “it’s disgusting.”

“What are you talking about?” I press him.

“Well it’s only obvious.” Danny points one more time as the couple disappear from sight. “They’re under the influence of Viagra.”

A completely silly joke by anyone’s standards, but Artie and Danny collapse in howling and high fives. 

Some passage has been cleared, and they both choose to move through it. An artificially silly wall has divided them, only to be brought to rubble by an outrageously silly thing.

A footnote: Artie and Danny become great and enduring friends, whose friendship has to be kept secret always from their own homeboys.

Thomas Merton writes: “We discover our true selves in love.”

Nothing is more true than this in Artie and Danny. Love never fails. It will always find a way to have its way.’

[from the chapter ‘Jurisdiction’ in Father Gregory Boyle’s excellent book, ‘Tattoos on the Heart’]

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[To read the next passage titled, ‘Standing with the Least Likely to Succeed’ click here]

feets

This is another extract from ‘Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion’ by Father Gregory Boyle which i am reading and thoroughly enjoying [and you should totally get and read] and this story i read tonite jumped out at me and begged to be shared. From a chapter titled, ‘Compassion’:

The strategy of Jesus is not centered in taking the right stand on issues, but rather in standing in the right place – with the outcast and those relegated to the margins.

Once the homeless began to sleep in the church at night, there was always the faintest evidence that they had. Come Sunday morning, we’d foo foo the place as best we could. We would sprinkle ‘I Love My Carpet’ on the rugs and vacuum like crazy. We’d strategically place potpourri and Air Wick around the church to combat this lingering, pervasive reminder – that nearly fifty (and later up to one hundred) men had spent the night there. 

About the only time we used incense at Dolores Mission was on Sunday morning, before the 7.30 a.m. Mass crowd would arrive. 

Still, try as we might, the smell remained. The grumbling set in, and people spoke of “churching” elsewhere.

It was at about this time that a man drove by the church and stopped to talk to me. he was Latino, in a nice car, and had arrived at some comfortable life and living. He knew I was the pastor. He waxed nostalgic about having grown up in the projects and pointed to the church and said he had been baptised and made his first communion there. 

Then he takes in the scene all around him. Gang members gathered by the bell tower, homeless men and women being fed in great numbers in the parking lot. Folks arriving for the AA and NA meetings and the ESL classes.

It’s a Who’s Who of Everybody Who Was Nobody. Gang member, drug addict, homeless, undocumented. This man sees all this and shakes his head, determined and disgusted, as if to say “tsk, tsk.”

“You know”, he says, ” This used to be a church.”

I mount my high horse and say, “You know, most people around here think it’s finally a church.”

Then I ride off into the sunset.

Roll credits.

The smell was nearly overwhelming, just undeniably there. The Jesuits figured that if “we can’t fix it, then we’ll feature it.” So we determined to address the discontent in our homilies one Sunday. Homilies were often dialogic in those days, so one day I begun with, “What’s the church smell like?”

People are mortified, eye contact ceases, women are searching inside their purses for they know not what.

“Come on now,” I throw back at them, “what’s the church smell like?”

Huele a patas” (Smells like feet), Don Rafael booms out. He was old and never cared what people thought.

“Excellent. But why does it smell like feet?”

“Cuz many homeless men slept here last night?” says a woman.

“Well, why do we let that happen here?”

Es nuestro compromiso” (It’s what we’ve committed to do), says another.

“Well, why would anyone commit to do tha?”

Porque es lo que haria Jesus” (It’s what Jesus would do.)

“Well, then… what’s the church smell like now?”

A man stands and bellows, “Huele a nuestro compromiso” (it smells like commitment).

The place cheers.

Guadalupe waves her arms wildly, “Huele a rosas.” (smells like roses).

The packed church roars with laughter and a new-found kinship that embraced someone else’s odour as their own. The stink in the church hadn’t changed, only how the folks saw it. The people at Dolores Mission had come to embody Wendell Berry’s injuction: “You have to be able to imagine lives that are not yours.”

Scripture scholars contend that the original language of the Beatitudes should not be rendered as “Blessed are the single-hearted” or “Blessed are the peacemakers” or “Blessed are those who struggle for justice.” Greater precision in translation would say, “You’re in the right place if… you are single-hearted or work for peace.” The Beatitudes is not a spirituality, after all. It’s a geography. It tells us where to stand. 

Compassion isn’t just about feeling the pain of others; it’s about bringing them in toward yourself. If we love what God loves, then, in compassion, margins get erased. “Be compassionate as God is compassionate,” means the dismantling of barriers that exclude.

In Scripture, Jesus is in a house so packed that no one can come through the door any more. So the people open the roof and lower the paralytic down through it, so Jesus can heal him. The focus of the story is, understandably, the healing of the paralytic. But there is something more significant than that happening here. They’re ripping the roof off the place, and those outside are being let in.

[For the next extract on ‘When enemies work together’ click here]

[To read the post i wrote after listening to Father Gregory Boyle speak at CCDA, click here]

 

Okay, so i don’t have a heart tattoo. Or any tattoo. And time is running out for me to get my first one before i leave Americaland [have the money, don’t have the right design!]

But i just started reading the book, ‘Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion’ by Father Gregory Boyle [who i heard speak at CCDA last year in a deeply moving session] and already it is breaking me up into tiny little pieces… in a good way.

And being hardly into the book at all, i can tell you that you should just go online and order as copy right now because it is going to be that good. And it is a simple to read book containing many stories and some thoughts and reflections.

As well as sharing some meditations and poetry from others along the way:

‘Find the real world, give it endlessly away, grow rich flinging gold to all who ask. Live at the empty heart of paradox. I’ll dance with you there – cheek to cheek.’

[the poet Rumi, quoted by Father Gregory Boyle in ‘Tattoos on the heart.’]

And then a bunch of stories, but this one smacked me across the face, forgetting to remove its medieval styled iron gauntlet in the process:

From the Introduction: Dolores Mission and Homeboy Industries

The original bakery [set up using former gang members as employees] was hugely famous from its first week. News crews would visit us almost daily. Articles were written with photos of enemies working alongside one another. Tour groups came from all over the world. Busloads of Japanese tourists dropped by. Even Prince Charles’s’ business advisors swooped down on us. “Pip Pip Cheerio” meets the Homies.

Our foreman at the time was a man named Luis, in his mid-twenties, who arguably had been among the biggest, savviest drug dealers our community had ever knows. We knew each other for more than a decade, and any offer of a job was always, graciously, but surely, declined. Luis was as smart as they come ad quick-witted.

He used to say, “When we were kids, we would play Kick the Can but so did the cops. You know, they’d play Kick the Mexi-Can or Kick the PuertoRi-Can.”

He never got caught. Too smart. If the cops rolled by and he was standing with me, he’d mumble, “Beam me up, Scottie.”

But when his daughter, Tiffany, was born, things changed. He wanted to work at the bakery, and his natural leadership abilities soon moved him up to foreman. Not only did he work with former rivals, he also supervised them, which is a great deal more difficult.

One day we received an odd request for a tour from farmers from the central valley of California. They want to see the bakery. It’s part of Luis’s job to greet the busloads and the film crews. He hates this part of his job, and his whining could make your teeth ache.

“Do I gotta?”

The day the farmers arrive, he and I are waiting for the bus to pull up, and I’m swinging at his whiny complaints like a bunch of pesky gnats.

Finally, the bus drives into the awkward bakery parking lot and I wave and direct it to its reserved spot. It’s one of those ultramodern buses, sleek and slick, equipped with a microphone at the front of the bus for the tour guide.

Luis pretends he’s the tour guide. “Welcome to Homeboy Bakery,” his voice nasally drones with tour-guide disinterest. “Observe gang members in their natural habitat.”

He is holding his fist up to his mouth, for greater amplification. “Please keep your hands in the bus at all times. Do not attempt to feed the homies. They are not yet tame.”

“Cállate, cabrón,” I say through the part of my mouth not smiling, welcoming our visitors from the farmland as they get off the bus.

Later in the day, I visit the bakery several blocks from my office. Seeing Luis triggers the memory of his earlier tour.

“Oye,” I ask him. “How’d the tour go?” 

“Damn, G,” he shakes his head. “What’s up with white people anyway?” 

I was actually curious as to what was up with us.

“I don’t know, what is up with us?”

“I mean, damn,” he says, “They always be using the word GREAT.”

“We do?”

“Oh, hell yeah. Watcha. This buncha gabachos stroll in here and see the place, and it’s all firme and clean and machines workin’ proper, and they say, “This place is GREAT.” And then they see the homies, tú sabes, enemies working together all firme, and they say, “You fellas are GREAT.” Then they taste our bread and they go, “This bread… it’s GREAT.” I mean, damn, G, why white people always be usin’ the word ‘GREAT’?”

I tell him I don’t know. But, trust me, every opportunity I could find after that, I tell him how ‘GREAT’ he is, just to mess with him a little. 

Some four months later, it is nearly closing time, and I arrive at the bakery in the evening. Luis sees me in the parking lot from inside the building and rushes outside. He’s excited, and yet “enthusiasm” is not ever the card with which Luis leads. He’s too cool for that. He barely lets me get out of my car.

“Hey, G,” he says, thrilled to see me, “You not gonna BELIEVE what happened to me yesterday after my shift.”

He proceeds to tell me that, after work, he goes to pick up his four-year-old daughter, Tiffany, at the babysitter’s. He puts her in the car, and they drive to their tiny apartment, where, fr the first time, Luis is paying rent with honestly earned, clean money. He unlocks the front door, and Tiffany scurries in, down the hallway, and lands in their modest sala. She plants her feet in the living room and extends her arms and takes in the whole room with her eyes. She then declares, with an untethered smile, “This… is GREAT.”

He tells me that he lowers himself to her eye level, placing his hands on his knees for support. 

“What’s great, mija?”

Tiffany clutches her heart and gushes, “MY HOOOME!” 

Luis seems to be unable to speak at exactly this moment. Our eyes find each other, and our souls well up, along with our eyes. We can’t stop staring at each other, and tears make their way south on our faces. After what seems like longer than I’m sure it was, I break the silence.

I point at him. “You…did… this. You’ve never had a home in your life – now you have one. You did this. You were the biggest drug dealer in this town, and you stopped and baked bread instead. You did this. You’ve never had a father in your life – and now you are one… and I hate to tell you this… but… you’re great.”

And I hate to have to tell YOU this, but the first time I retrieved this story from my memory bank was to tell it at Luis’s funeral. He wasn’t doing anything wrong on the day he was killed. He was loading the trunk of his car, in the projects, readying himself for a camping trip with friends. Two gang members, with their faces covered, entered their “enemy’s” territory, looking for “fools slippin’.” They saw Luis and must have thought to themselves, “He’ll do.” They walked up to him and executed him.

I told the “Great” story at Luis’s funeral largely because of the questions I had repeatedly been asked by his friends and homies during the week that spanned his death and his burial. 

“What’s the point?,” they’d ask. “of doing good… if this happens to ya?”

It was a good question, worthy of a response. I told the packed church that Luis was a human being who came to know the truth about himself and liked what he found there. 

Julian of Norwich, a fourteenth-century female English mystic, saw the life struggle as coming to discover that we are “clothed in God’s goodness.”

This became Luis’s life’s work. He embraced this goodness – his greatness – and nothing was the same again. And, really, what is death compared to knowing that? No bullet can pierce it.

WITH THAT MOON LANGUAGE

Admit something:

Everyone you see, you say to them,

“Love me.”

Of course you do not do this out loud;

Otherwise,

Someone would call the cops.

Still though, think about this,

This great pull in us to connect.

Why not become the one

Who lives with a full moon in each eye

That is always saying

With that sweet moon

Language

What every other eye in this world

Is dying to

Hear.

[Hafez]

[To read another extract, ‘The Smell of Feet’, click here]

[To read the post i wrote after listening to Father Gregory Boyle speak at CCDA, click here]

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