In his most amazing, and heartwarming book Tattoos On The Heart, Greg Boyle talks about his time as the parish priest of Dolores Mission which is located in the heart of some of the poorest and most violent gang-infested neighborhood of Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles.
Working closely with gang members, Boyle created Homeboy Industries as a gang-intervention program that offered employment opportunities to what most of us might determine were unemployable.
Through the lens of love and grace, Father G saw something different. And as such wrote this amazing book that distilled his experience working with and loving on those of whom society had marginalized and forgotten.
In a breathtaking series of parables inspired by his faith and dedication Boyle’s courageous work with gang members will open your eyes to see the Christ in others. His stories will make you laugh and cry, and hopefully will change the way you look at people different than you. After all, God views us all through a much different lens than we view ourselves. The “homies” in his book will attest.
How many of us actually took the time to “stop and smell the roses” so to speak? We spend more time at work and in our cars go to and fro to work than we did doing anything else. There was no time for delight or enjoyment, because there was work to be done. Now many of us are out of work, or our jobs have drastically shifted, but still I wonder how many people are enjoying it. I hear a lot of complaining (most of it understandable) but very little celebration of having time to read, binge watch Tiger King, learn to cook, or whatnot. While I hate losing my quiet time to myself, I have found new joys and my eyes have been opened to see life as God sees it...which is to say, beautiful.
In this particular chapter, Boyle took this idea of our enjoying what God has given us to a place that speaks to the original intent of this blog, and that is to see the beauty of God in the face of strangers. Here is an excerpt:
Leon DuFour, a world-renowned Jesuit theologian and Scripture scholar, a year before he died at ninety-nine, confided in a Jesuit who was caring for him, “I have written so many books on God, but after all that, what do I really know? I think at the end, God is the person you’re talking to, the one right in front of you.”