Narrowness Is the Way

A story from Tattoos on the Heart, by Greg Boyle, SJ:

At three o’clock in the morning, the phone rings. It’s Cesar. He says what every homie says when they call in the middle of the night, “Did I wake you?”

I always think Why no, I was just waiting and hoping that you’d call.

Cesar is sober and it’s urgent that he talk to me.

“I gotta ask you a question. You know how I’ve always seen you as my father–ever since I was a little kid?  Well, I hafta to ask you a question.”

Now Cesar pauses, and the gravity of it all makes his voice waver and crumble, “Have I . . . been . . . you son.  And you . . . will be my father.  And nothing will separate us, right?

“That’s right.”

In this early morning call Cesar did not discover that he has a father.  He discovered that was a son worth having.  The voice broke through the clouds of his terror and the crippling mess of his own history, and he felt himself beloved.  God, wonderfully pleased in him, is where God wanted Cesar to reside.

Jesus in Matthew’s gospel says, “How narrow is the gate that leads to life.”  Mistakenly, I think, we’ve come to believe that this is about restriction.  The way is narrow.  But it really wants us to see that narrowness is the way. . . . Our choice is not to focus on the narrow, but to narrow our focus.  The gate that leads to life is not about restriction at all.  It is about an entry into the expansive.

Photo from Flickr Commons by M.V. Jantzen

About Jim Manney 769 Articles
Jim Manney is the author of highly praised popular books on Ignatian spirituality, including A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer (about the Daily Examen) and God Finds Us (about the Spiritual Exercises). He is the compiler/editor of An Ignatian Book of Days. His latest book is Ignatian Spirituality A to Z. He and his wife live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

1 Comment on Narrowness Is the Way

  1. I love the last few lines, “our choice is not to focus on the narrow, but to narrow our focus. The gate that leads to life is not about restriction…it is an entry ino the expansive.”

    We have so much coming at us in life, some important, most only distracting, that we can quickly lose sight of where our focus really should be – thanks for the reminder.

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