As a younger person interested in trying to live a life of witness to the Gospel, there are some experienced heroes and heroines I would love the chance to talk with - to hear their stories and advice for ways to make it through the hard times. None more so than Daniel Berrigan, the Jesuit priest who became famous (or infamous) for his witness burning the files of a draft office in Cantonsville with eight others in 1968.
To my envy Jenn Svetlik over at Sojourners Magazine recently had that chance. In an interview with Berrigan in their current issue, Svetlik touches upon his life, his understanding of community, and his advice to younger people.
Here's my favorite snippet from Berrigan:
I can only trust the movement that is producing art, whether it’s poetry, or visual art, or dance, or music—it doesn’t make any difference. But there has to be that overflow that says, “We are on the move. We have enough to give and we’re going to give it. We have more than enough and we can give it.” So when my turn came for me and my friends to go to jail, we still wrote poetry and recited it to one another. We would meet on Sunday morning in the yard, and we said a poem we had memorized or written that week. We had Bible study going too. I don’t know where all that came from. As I look back, it was a very important and beautiful period together. It said, in effect, “They don’t own us. We’re not here on their terms. We have enough to give this to one another.” And that’s what we did.
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