He was priest, prophet, poet and prisoner.
Anti-war campaigner, with brother Phil
Using homemade napalm to burn draft files.
Pounding on nuclear missile, nose cones
With their Nazarene carpenter's hammers.
Troublesome, devoted son of the Church
Parents, active socialists, devout Catholics,
French worker-priests gave a "practical
Vision of the church as she should be,"
Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton honed
His solemn conviction that the dignity of
Each human being must always come first.
He understood solidarity in struggle, the
Power of turning up and standing there:
The Palestinians' struggle for their land;
The gay community's fight for health care;
The hunger strikers in Northern Ireland;
The pain of a fractured, polluted earth that
Cried in pain for disarmament and restraint.
In North Vietnam during the Tet offensive
Gaining release of three American POWs
In his nineties loyally present in New York
For the 'Occupy Wall Street' encampment.
Talking the talk in some fifty books of poetry
Essays, journals and scripture commentaries.
Walking the walk on FBI's Most Wanted list
Serving a three-year federal prison sentence.
Speaking publicly against the Vietnam War,
Rejected by those rightist religious leaders
Who well knew that the war was immoral
But could never find the courage to say so
Mindlessly mawing that God was on their side.
Loathed by the liberal left for a seamless robe
Consistent, life-ethic opposing cruel judicial
Killing whether by abortion or by execution.
Yours a life so well, so deep, so truly lived 'to
Make your story fit into the story of Jesus;'
Splendid peace act of poetry in a brutal world.
Pray for us Saint Daniel Berrigan that we too
May 'educate people to goodness in a bad time'.
See also: ICN 2 May 2016 Bruce Kent reflects on life of Fr Daniel Berrigan SJ www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=29980