by Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ
In the Meditation on the Two Standards in the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius says simply: “See Jesus standing in the lowly place.”
We are always, endlessly, trying to figure out what to DO “for the poor,” and we sometimes keep our high moral distance from them. We are “the service-providers” and those on the margins, “the service recipients.”
A reporter once commented to Cesar Chavez: “Wow, these farm workers sure love you.” And Chavez shrugged and smiled and said, “The feeling’s mutual.” Mutuality with the poor can only come when we choose to stand “in the lowly place.”
The Church can only speak with authenticity and integrity to the world, when it stands “in the lowly place.” We obliterate the illusion that we are “separate” when we stand “in the lowly place.”
The most precise translation of the Beatitudes is not “blessed are the single-hearted” or “happy are those who seek for justice,” but rather “you’re in the right place if” you’re single-hearted, a peacemaker, a seeker of justice…
It turns out the Beatitudes is not a spirituality after all, it’s a geography. It tells us where to stand.
So Ignatius invites us to join Jesus in a particular and concrete place. We align ourselves with Jesus and speak our truth to power from an exact location. We luxuriate in the thrill of kinship and mutuality.
We say “yes” to this gracious invitation to stand with Jesus “in the lowly place.”
Where do you stand with God?
How will you respond to God’s invitation to stand “in the lowly place”?
Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, is the founder of Homeboy Industries, a gang-intervention program located in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, the gang capital of the world.