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“Change awaits us. What is decisive is our deciding.” ~Father Boyle

In an attempt to succeed I believe each of us forgets our relationship with the ‘other’. I become engulfed in my endeavor for success, whether it is as a partner, a parent, a friend, an advocate, or as a professional, that I misplace the experience with the ‘other’. I don’t believe I’m unique in this respect. Society’s expectation for success has become exceedingly competitive. I strive to have the perfect partnership, have the best child(ren), be the bestest BFF, be the loudest advocate, and be the indispensable professional, and yet lose my place in “the circle of compassion and kinship.” Tattoos on the Heart, The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle reminds its readers to slow down, stop, and sincerely decide to share ourselves with the ‘other’. It is in this sharing that our united faith in truly being with the ‘other’ leads us together in triumph.

As a pastor, Father Gregory Boyle works in a neighborhood with the highest concentration of murderous gang activity in Los Angeles and has created an organization to provide jobs, job training, and encouragement so that young people could work together and learn the mutual respect that comes from collaboration. Tattoos on the Heart, The Power of Boundless Compassion is a breathtaking series of parables distilled from his twenty years in the barrio. Arranged by theme and filled with sparkling humor and glowing generosity, these essays offer a stirring look at how full our lives could be if we could find the joy in loving others and in being loved unconditionally.

“The principal suffering of the poor is shame and disgrace. It is a toxic shame—a global sense of failure of the whole self. This shame can seep so deep down.” ~Father Boyle

This is not only a must read, it is recurring read. A book to put by your bed to thoroughly read once, highlight, dog-ear, bookmark, and tag, and then re-read incessantly. It is a harsh shove, yet one that does not compare to the suffering, shame, and disgrace that is experienced by so many, not only in Los Angeles County. By homie standards it is a gentle nudge back into the “circle of compassion and kinship.”

I wholeheartedly take Father Boyle’s challenge to “stand in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgment at how they carry it.” I can understand how we have “deemed them disgraceful and shameful” only to provide a home for shame in themselves, and therefore in ourselves. Let us now decide to “seek to create loving communities of kinship precisely to counteract mounting lovelessness, racism, and the cultural disparagement that keeps us apart.” Father Boyle, count me in!

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion

By Gregory Boyle

ISBN-13: 9781439153024

Free Press, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. 


July 2010 Condor Book Tour | Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle

Book Tour Schedule

Mon        July 5 | Dulce Bread and Bookshop Blog
Tues       July 6 | Busy Moms Who Love to Read
Wed        July 7 | Rundpinne, Blowing Branches
Thurs      July 8 | Flower Patch Farm Girl
Fri           July 9 | Just Jennifer Reading, Blogs by Latinas

Mon        July 12 | Literary Lolita, Tweezle Reads, Take 2 Reviews
Tues       July 13 | Brown Girl Speaks, Knitting & Sundries, Jess in Momland
Wed        July 14 | Frida’s Voice, Tribute Book Reviews
Thurs      July 15 | BookHounds, Just My Blog, Amazing Reviews
Fri           July 16 | Feminist Review, Rhodes Review

Mon        July 19 | Being Latino, Not So Ordinary Girls
Tues       July 20 | Information Central, Mommy of a Monster…
Wed        July 21 | Charge Shot!!!, Cheap Therapy, You Have How Many Kids?
Thurs      July 22 | Katie’s Concert Blog, Colloquim, Having a\ Hallelujah Good Time
Fri           July 23 | Wee Share, Mom’s the Glue, The Simple Jocabell Life, Books R Us Online

Mon        July 26 | NY City Girl
Tues       July 27 | Porque Estoy Gorda
Wed        July 28 | The Single Mama Review Corner
Thurs      July 29 | Musings
Fri           July 30 | Reading at the Beach