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Center for Action and Contemplation

The Fullness of Our Humanity

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Father Greg Boyle is the Founder of Homeboy Industries, which offers jobs, services, and dignity to former gang members. He has witnessed the healing that comes from having reverence for reality—which is where we bump into God.  

We remember the sacred by our reverence. . . . This is the esteem we extend to the reality revealed to us. Jesus didn’t abandon his reality, he lived it. He ran away from nothing and sought some wise path through everything. He engaged in it all with acceptance. He had an eye out always for cherishing his reality. A homie, Leo, wrote me: “I’m going to trust God’s constancy of love to hover over my crazy ass. I’m fervent in my efforts to cultivate holy desires.” This is how we find this other kind of stride and joyful engagement in our cherished reality. The holy rests in every single thing. Yes, it hovers, over our crazy asses. . . .

I always liked that Saint Kateri Tekakwitha’s name “Tekakwitha” means “she who bumps into things.” What if holiness is a contact sport and we are meant to bump into things? This is what it means to embrace a contemplative, mystical way of seeing wholeness. It gives a window into complexity and keeps us from judging and scapegoating and demonizing. If we allow ourselves to “bump into things,” then we quit measuring. We cease to Bubble-Wrap ourselves against reality. We stop trying to “homeschool” our way through the world so that the world won’t touch us. Hard to embrace the world . . . if we are so protective and defensively shielded from it. A homie told me once, “It’s taken me all these years to see the real world. And once ya see it—there’s only God there.”

Boyle closes the gap between the secular and the sacred:

We don’t want to distance the secular but always bring it closer. It’s only then that ordinary things and moments become epiphanies of God’s presence. Some man said to me once, “I want to become more spiritual.” Yet God is inviting us to inhabit the fullness of our humanity. God holds out wholeness to us. Let’s not settle for just spiritual. We are sacramental to our core when we think that everything is holy. The holy not just found in the supernatural but in the Incarnational here and now. The truth is that sacraments are happening all the time if we have the eyes to see. . . .

The point of the Incarnation is that Jesus is one of us in the ordinary. Jesus is God’s declaration that the Infinite is present in it all. . . .

Our mystical “diving in” is at the heart of the Incarnation. Jesus ONLY referred to himself as the Son of Man, which means the Human One. It must be important. It shows up eighty-seven times in the Bible. “Never say it’s not God,” if it’s human, in the flesh, and ever-present.


Gregory Boyle, The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness (New York: Avid Reader Press, 2021), 80, 81–82, 84, 85.

Explore Further. . .

Image credit: Zoe Schaffer, Seedling (detail), 2022, Pennsylvania, photograph, Unsplash. Markus Ilg, Austria (detail), 2020, Austria, photograph, Unsplash. Benjamin Yazza, Untitled 11 (detail), 2022, New Mexico, photograph, used with permission. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge image.

Image inspiration: The Christ in everything: nature, Advent candles and Scriptures, God in the cells of our hands.

Story from Our Community:

A year ago, I felt caught between two loves. I lost my faith community after I married my husband who is of the Baha’i faith. My community couldn’t wrap their heads around my husband being part of our faith rhythms and services. I have spent a year grieving and making sense of this. I’m so grateful to CAC for encouraging me to trust my sense of Christ as universal. . . In this new concept of Christ, I am slowing beginning to see the life-giving Christ everywhere: in small details in the midst of grief; the frosty leaves on the way to work; deep personal commonalities and Christ-likeness in those I have previously considered as ‘other’ (including my now-husband!); and even the goodness of the community I felt hurt by. —Emily C.

Prayer for our community:

God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough,  because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.

Listen to the prayer.


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