I read his obituary from the National Catholic Reporter. Now, I am not of the generation who witnessed the Jesuit priest burning draft cards with other nonviolent protestors, but I still feel the enormity of losing such an important figure of peace and justice movement.
There were two parts of the obituary that stuck out for me. One was a piece of advice he gave to the former Jesuit John Dear: "All you have to do is to make your story fit into the story of Jesus." Sounds simple, right?! The other was a question that he asked one evening around the dinner table, "What's giving you hope these days?"
Wouldn't it be wonderful if around our dinner tables we were able to speak of the things that give us hope rather than all the things in the news that bring us despair?
Here is a poem that Berrigan wrote called Some.
Some stood up once, and sat down.
Some walked a mile, and walked away.
Some stood up twice, then sat down.
“It’s too much,” they cried.
Some walked two miles, then walked away.
“I’ve had it,” they cried,
Some stood and stood and stood.
They were taken for fools,
they were taken for being taken in.
Some walked and walked and walked –
they walked the earth,
they walked the waters,
they walked the air.
“Why do you stand?” they were asked, and
“Why do you walk?”
“Because of the children,” they said, and
“Because of the heart, and
“Because of the bread,”
“Because the cause is
the heart’s beat, and
the children born, and
the risen bread.”
The children, the heart, and the bread are certainly causes for hope in my life. A peaceful rest to you, Daniel Berrigan.
Let us walk in the holy presence.