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Being black is a grace. It provides for, if one desires it, a distinctive lens through which to experience the world, to experience being American. What history, what creativity! I found my way into Catholic Communion because I caught an amazing glimpse (and yes, just a glimpse) at what it might mean to be a black Catholic. Blackness, i.e. this cultural, historical particularity, provides a great challenge and a cherished gift. I struggle sometimes with knowing how to preserve the gift while being freed of the predefined molds that stifle so many young women and men.

Nevertheless Jesuit spirituality and black religion/spirituality together provide for an identity that continues to amaze and puzzle me as people bring themselves to me as minister and fellow companion of Jesus. It is an experience of the Paschal Mystery, centered on the opaque nature, the gritty, piercing love of the Cross. I could never ignore being black or black being; I would be the first to suffer. I continue to learn from Christ what it means to accept oneself with all that comes with being the self that one has been given to be. In fact, it is the only one, that is, the only true self that can love and suffer with authentic joy for the salvation of the world. Being black? What else could I ever be?