Let Us Include The Marginalized World In Our Circle Of Compassion

We journey through life alone, carrying the wounds of our childhood. And we try to hide it as if it is something to be ashamed of. We desperately wish to lose ourselves in the darkness of our scars and weep silent tears. But remember that the seeds of hope that is planted deep within us never died. Because we have the power of hope and imagination that helps us create a circle of compassion.

Choose to open up your heart. Be aware that nobody can change our world for us. It is only we who have the power to transform by being a better human to those who look up to us in times of trouble.

Father Boyle has always walked off the beaten track. He wears many hats, as an author, speaker, and a Jesuit priest. But it is his work with gang members for 35 years where he has made a world of difference in how they are perceived. Once they are out of prison, the society gangs up against them. They face a hostile environment that discourages them from being integrated into society again.

We need to realize it is the person who has inflicted the scars who should be feeling guilty. We plead that we never wake up from this nightmare, never have to go through the storms and fires of a cursed life again. But we need to live in a community of kinship where we bring to light our wounds. We have to imagine and hope that we can include all within that community. It is here that we stand by those who have been denied their dignity.

Father Gregory Boyle, or “Pops”, has chosen to cherish them in a palpable way. Traumatized or damaged are the words he prefers. He believes in the essential goodness of all. And as he watches them become a part of that truth, he is happy. At Dolores Mission, in a dangerous part of Los Angeles, he saw violent death at close hand. He decided to step in and realized that he could contribute to bringing them back to society, into his circle of compassion.

In 1988 he started Homeboy Industries that rehabilitates ex-gang members. Such people were rejected by society. It has turned into the largest rehabilitation program for gang members. Here they are rehabilitated and cherished. Here they find jobs and a new direction in life.

He says that he looks for ways to invest in such people rather than just try to incarcerate or demonize them. That is the best way to bring them back into society. At a different level, he is inviting society to re-imagine itself.

Homeboy Industries is the ‘front porch’ of the home that everybody loves to live in. Former gang members eagerly joined in, desperate to integrate back into society. Everybody is invaluable no matter what they might have done in the past. He believes that people need to invest in this place to open the world up.

Father Boyle has received numerous awards, degrees, and other recognitions. They include the California Peace Prize, Civil Medal of Honor, and was in 2011 even inducted into the California Hall of Fame.

Let our suffering embolden our souls to be a beacon of hope to others who have been unfortunate enough to have traveled down the same troubled road. Let them not be embarrassed at what happened in the past. To heal, we must embrace the pain. For, the one who inflicts the pain suffers equally as the one on whom it is inflicted.

Let us pledge to make this world a better place. Let us learn to welcome our wounds. It is the only way by which we can learn to see the wounds of others and share in their pain.

Helping others standing on the periphery is not a measure of our compassion. We have to be more than willing to be in a position of close affinity with them. Or it will all be in vain.

You do stand before the suffering as a bearer of alms. To lessen their suffering you stand by those whose wounds are as raw and bloody as your own. It is a privilege that has been granted to a few who have been able to stand beside the ones suffering. Only these gentle souls who pervade this world with tenderness have the power in them to change the world by creating a circle of compassion.

Happiness comes from sharing kindness and compassion. And for this, we need to stand in the present and do two things. Never resenting what the past has done to us. Never fear what the future holds for us. Staying rooted in the present allows us to be more generous in spirit. That, in turn, prompts us to be more kind and bring in all we can into our circle of compassion.

We all have received our share of pain in this world and a few of us had more than our share of it. We need an outlet from this road of despair in which we always seem to be a journeyman. We need to come out of it and transform this pain and hate into an abundance of joy and love. This is the only way that we can come out of this circle of despair and hopelessness and enter the circle of compassion.

We stand by those with the least hope to succeed. As responsible members of the civilized society, we need to recognize that our society needs to be more compassionate.

Many a time we lack the basic signs of compassion and wisdom which we consider as measures of a civilized society. As people who have been wounded ourselves, we forget that we need to be around our children to guide and go along with them.

We need to stand beside the deprived and the forgotten. Those people who have their voices taken from them and who have been denied their dignity. They bear a burden that crushes them. We need to see ourselves in kinship with them so that the vilification and derision stops. We seem to forget at times that we belong to each other. At times we need to stand beside those who are easily despised, the rejected and the demonized so that they become a thing of the past.

Only the soul that radiates the world with tenderness in spite of having felt the pain themselves can have any hope of changing the world. It is only them who can bring others within their circle of compassion.