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Saturday, June 11, 2011

You Should Re-Read This Book Until it is Tattooed on Your Heart

TATTOOS ON YOUR HEART: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Fr. Gregory Boyle

I noticed this book last month on a display at work.  One of the best parts of my job as a bookseller is being exposed to so many books through different displays, receiving books in, shelving them, sorting them, and so on.  As is often the case, the book's cover caught my eye.  I have a special fondness for Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is pictured on the candles on the cover of the book.  Then I noticed the word tattoos and I like tattoos, so I figured I'd better pick up this book and see what's it's about.  Well, thank goodness for that display because it lead me to a great book.

The author, Gregory Boyle, is a Jesuit priest who founded Homeboy Industries.  All proceeds from the sale of this book go to Homeboy Industries, an organization providing training, tattoo removal, jobs, and more to those formerly involved in gangs or who are at-risk.  Fr. Boyle works in a Los Angeles parish with the highest concentration of gang activity in America.  But Father brings his compassion and persistence to the young people in this area to show them they are valued, they have a choice, there is a different future.  I think Fr. Boyle is a hero.

And...he has written a fantastic book.  Each chapter has a theme.  Father Boyle expounds on each theme by telling us of different experiences he has had working with gang members and their families.  Some stories make you laugh, some make you cry, some make you smile, some make you sigh.  All of them make you think.  Fr. Boyle deftly combines these stories together to exemplify or guide you toward the chapter's theme.  There is much wisdom to be found in this book. 

It's so interesting I wanted to just speed right through the book, yet some of the insights it gave me forced me to pause and contemplate what I had just read.  This is definitely a book I will have to read again and again so I can be sure to get all from it that I can.  I do so wish I could tattoo these pieces of wisdom onto my heart, to be able to recall them at once anytime.  They may not be on my heart permanently, but I know for sure a deep impression is definitely there.

To learn more about Homeboy Industries go to .

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