Tattoos on the Heart Book Project By Sophia Dreessen

Preface and Introduction

Fr. Gregory Boyle is an amazing author and priest. He has basically been showing these gang members that there is more to life than you reputation. With the help of the non profit, Homeboy Industries, helping gang members with tattoo removal, getting them jobs at many different places, and counseling. The Dolores mission church has been a safe haven for many. Father G, as the gang members would call him, has been a mentor, father they never had, and in a way, he was their symbol of God.

Chapter 1: God, I Guess

This chapter is called "God, I guess" for the reason of God being the center of all good. In the actual story, a kid answers the question of, "Why doesn't he turn you in?" with, "God, I guess." Which is saying how father G has the compassion in his heart for these gang members. I do think the theme is G's compassion. e gets this compassion and kindness only from God. The most prominent story in the book for me was when Greg was bathed in the petals by a stranger. This is my favorite story in the chapter because even the seemingly small acts of kindness, sympathy, or even attention can make the biggest difference in everyone's lives.

Chapter 2: Disgrace

This chapter is called disgrace because some people think that they are a disgrace. Even though this may be the truth to the opinion of our common society, this does not mean God thinks of us that way. God made us in his image and behind all of our skin, tattoos, and bones, we have a soul. Our soul is extremely more valuable than any other substance in the universe. Why? Because God made it in his image. So let's treat it that way. My favorite story was when Father G was talking to this line of kids and when one came up he said his name was Sniper. G kept on trying to get his real and memorable name and it came down to Napito. This relates to me because the name that my whole family calls me and no one else is Soph and it's pretty warming for only my family to call me that. It gives me worth.

Chapter 3: Compassion

"Compassion is God." I think this relates to this chapter because those words came from an old man in prison. Who knows what he did to get there but he is the only one that said anything. If an old criminal can realize this, we should easily be able to as well. The story that spoke to me was when Matteo came up to father G during a prayer of healing of his leukemia and said, "All I know is that... I love you... so... fucking... much..." This spoke to me because humans were made to love and to be loved. Love is captivating and special so when I read this I almost had a feeling of jealousy but mostly I felt the love through the book, through the story, and through the tremendous amount of love. That's all we need. It's all we want.

Chapter 4: Water, Oil, Flame

I think this chapter is called water, oil, flame to symbolize the role of a Catholic. First, baptism, where we are cleansed of original sin and members of the Catholic community. Then, confirmation where the person is made into a real member of the cats need to carry out his or her vocation. With confirmation comes to the holy spirit wear it out guide us through our life and through everything. I think the theme of this chapter is growth as a person and as a Catholic. In the book it shows that we get from God let's hope that we can get if we just try hard enough. My favorite story in this chapter was one Father G had a dream about natalie. Because it showed that Father G had an in voluntary thought about the potential of her.

Chapter 5: Slow Work

I think this chapter is called slow work because if we really want to see progress and light in our lives it will take time and it will take work. The theme of this story is hard work. The stories are about people trying their hardest to make a better lifes for themselves. No matter how small the steps they're taking there are still steps. There is still progress. There is no reason to give up no matter how slow the work is. My favorite story from this chapter is when Joey got a job at Chucky cheese as the rat. I like the story because it is like but it also shows that Joey is improving his life even with a crappy job. He is still so proud of him self even though his friends would laugh at him or someone might not approve of having the gang member at kids parties. He is making a difference for himself.

Chapter 6: Juristdiction

Jurisdiction basically means power. I think chapter is called jurisdiction because there are stories about people may think that they have power over their lives or other peoples lives. They are wrong. God is the only one that has any power over our lives. You may feel bad for someone else or something you did to someone else. Others may feel bad for you or feel bad for doing something to you. But we can't change the past we can only change how we act now. The most moving story for me in this book was when Flaco was hit by a car on the highway. Someone from the rival game of Flaco told Father G that he was going to visit Flaco in the hospital. I was moved by the story because even though there is the rivalry, that doesn't mean you have to feel happy that something so horrible has happened to someone.

Chapter 7: Gladness

I think this chapter is called gladness because it shows stories that are happy. Not all things in my eyes are green and blu that are happy. Not all things in life are grim and blue. Only you have the power to change your outlook and actions every day. My favorite story in this chapter was when Filiberto called G over the radio and said he wasn't coming to work. In this instance Father G found happiness in the little things. This is what we need to do. We need to see that our lives aren't going to end because of a little problem. My mom always says, "If it won't matter in 5 years it doesn't matter now." I feel like this is a very important think to live by so we don't get hung up on these small problems. We also tend to push down big problems and pretend like they aren't there. These matters should switch. We need to stop obsessing over little problems like how Starbucks's Unicorn Frapp tastes bad and start worrying about big problems like how children are stariving because their government is abandoning them.

Chapter 8: Success

This chapter is obviously called success because of the success you can have if you work for what you want and if you work hard enough. This chapter has many success stories of gang members. The most moving story of this chapter for me was when Soledad's two sons were shot and killed by a rival gang. One of them was shot and died in her arms. His name was Ronnie. She then later had heart problems and was in the hospital when boy was rolled in with gun shot wounds. She recognized him as one of the boys that shot Ronnie from the rival gang. She then thought about friends and what they would say. She imagined them saying that they would hope that he would die of the shot wounds because of what he has done to the family. But Soledad prayed that he would survive. I see this as Soledad having the success in seeing that this is still a person. Even though he as done bad things, he has no more worth than anyone else's life. We should translate this for our own lives that just because someone has wronged you, doesn't mean that you have to get revenge. The saying goes, "you can't fight fire with fire," which is true, but it's not only that you won't fix the fire. You are both fire now. You are no better than what they are after whatever they did. We should not want to be fire next to fire. Aspire to be the dove against fire. Stay away, safe, and observant. See that what they are doing is bad, but don't try to fix it or eliminate it. But most importantly, stay above what they are doing because if you get close enough, you might turn into the fire

Chapter 9: Kinship

"Mother Teresa diagnosed the world's ills in this way: we've just 'forgotten that we belong to each other.' "

Kinship is what the world isn't. Kinship is unity and love and seeing that the person next to you is no different than yourself. This shows in this chapter because Charlie, Robbie, and Chico were invited to go to Washington D.C. and the White House to have dinner and speak. They are continually stared at and judged because of how they look. Everyone says that judging others is bad and that we should all just love eachother. But, yet, we all still judge others to make ourselves feel higher and hate on others because they do not meet our standerds as a good human being. I myself am guilty of this and in no way am I pointing this away from me. We need to work on this as a society and not be such a judgmental group of people where we constantly feel judged. We judge others because we are judged. And others judge because we judge them. It is this constant cycle that we have no way of stopping unless everyone stops simultaneously.

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Sophia Dreessen
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