A question from the floor

I read once that the original language of the Beatitudes was not ‘blessed are…’ or ‘happy are the single-hearted, or those who work for peace, or those who struggle for justice.’ The more precise translation is ‘you’re in the right place if…”. And I like that better, because it turns out the Beatitudes is not a spirituality—it’s a geography. It tells you where to stand.

You’re in the right place if you’re over here. […] It’s about location. You really have to go out. But knowing that service is the hallway that leads to the ballroom – you don’t want service to be the end. It’s the beginning. It’s getting you to the ballroom which is the place of kinship. The place of mutuality. […] It doesn’t happen unless you break out. Fear is just fuelled by ignorance, and so you have to break out of your ignorance. You have to go to a place that frightens us. […]

Look before you leap, but leap.

This is an excerpt taken from a podcast episode from On Being – The Calling of Delight: Gangs, Service and Kinship – where Krista Tippett interviews Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, a priest famous for his gang interventions in Los Angeles. The quote above constitutes a big part of his answer to a question from the floor raised by young woman: “How do you combat the fear of love and compassion?”

Listen to the full episode on the On Being website here.

Addendum: “In the end, it’s about something. It’s about kinship. It’s about [that] Oscar-winning attitude in a waitress. That you may be one. That’s the whole thing. That God has created an otherness, so that you may bump into each other.”


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