|“Father G” and his homies|
26 years ago a young Jesuit Catholic Priest named Gregory Boyle began a ministry in one of LA’s more impoverished and troubled neighborhoods. He taught in Delores Mission (as well as in 25 juvenile detention centers) and was able to reach out the the neighborhoods and people that were suffering the ills of gangs and drugs and poverty.
Father Boyle is not out there saying ‘all is well in Zion’ and or ‘there is no devil’. There are plenty of do-gooders out there that try in vain pacify the world with messages like ‘whatever makes you happy–just be a nice person.’ On the contrary, Father Boyle is healing hearts and saving lives with the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But that message rings hollow if the one that gives it doesn’t believe the Lord can deliver on what he’s promised: “he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord remember them no more” (D & C 58:42) and “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). Father G believes it, and recorded his experiences over the many years in his book (Tatoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. New York: Free Press, 2010).
It was Jesus Christ that told us: “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (D&C; 18:10). We could all use a little more of that clarity of vision–same vision that sees a soul instead of gang tattoos; a son of God rather than a panhandler on the street.