In this world of chaos brought to us by leaders all over, not just our own, I found a quiet place that called me back to the reality that is possible in the believing community. I am borrowing very heavily from the talk given at Notre Dame’s commencement 2017. Father Gregory Boyle, S.J., author of Tattoos on the Heart was awarded this year’s Laetare Medal and was one of the major speakers. I am paraphrasing his thoughts but felt they could apply to all of us building peace in the kingdom on earth.
Imagine with God a circle of compassion and then imagine nobody standing outside that circle. We must leave our comfort zones and dismantle the barriers that exclude anyone. Matthew 25 speaks to this thinking and the believing community is called to be Gospel people.
We must stand with those whose dignity has been denied. We must go to the margins and we need to brace ourselves because people will accuse us of wasting our time. Members of the believing community struggle because some of their friends and family members continue to negate the humanity of those who are the beggars standing on the street corner, the ones who are different in some way. “Get a job”; “If you’d give up the drugs, your life would be great”; “Well we all know how her Mother lived”; there is much more hateful language around about the one who just never measured up, no way, no how. Can the believing community make more of an effort to stop it?
Do we stand in awe of what the poor have to carry or stand in judgment at how they carry it?
Father Boyle concludes: “The measure of our compassion lies not in our service of those on the margins but only in our willingness to be in kinship with them.”