The "tattooing" of the stories is to make a lasting impression. In making a lasting impression these stories have people thinking of Gods presence in life, praying for their enemies, and finally believing in the saying "Don't judge a book by its cover."
Father Boyle mentions several dreams; one that stands out is Sandy's dream. Sandy enters Dolores Mission Church but doesn't move closer to the front till Father Boyle, dressed for Mass, motions her forward. In the front is a tiny coffin that is open Father Boyle encourages Sandy to look in. Once Sandy does a white dove flies out circles around the church to land on her shoulder. Sandy wakes up after that (p.174 Boyle). White doves a symbol of God, for wasn't that the animal that circled above Jesus' head when God claimed him as his son. God was showing Sandy he was in her life. It is the small signs that show the world that God is always with us even if there are those who don't believe.
Enemy is by definition "someone who hates another : someone who attacks or tries to harm another" by the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Most gangs can easily say the rival gangs are by definition their enemies. A mother, Soledad, who has lost her sons from gang violence, can pray for a boy who was a part of the gang that ended her boy's life just so that a mother like herself doesn't have to live through the pain (p.185 Boyle). The few who sympathize for another can truly say enemies or not, no one deserves the pain of losing a child.
When one looks at a person who is in a gang most automatically thing criminal, if that same person looked a judge they would most likely think law upholder. Father Boyle took three people from Homeboy Industries to Washington DC. On the trip back one boy Alex was talking with a flight attendant explain what Homeboy Industries was and why they just went to DC. After Alex was done talking to the flight attendant, she cried (p. 203-204 Boyle). Her crying was because she automatically thought of him as a criminal. She had realized through Alex that not every gang member is bad. The gang members at Homeboys as she just found out are trying to change for the better so they aren't stuck in the gang life. Many people judge other people just by their looks. Believing that you can't amount to something if you are poor or that only those who are pretty become models. All the thoughts society puts into our heads are bias and stereotypical and a generally wrong.
Boyle wrote about his and others activities with gangs. In Tattoos on the Heart the reader and connect and even share the emotions of those sharing their stories. Through this connection the reader understand that God is always present in our lives, it is perfectly acceptable to pray for your enemies, and that you can always change your mind if you judge a book by its cover.
Boyle, Greg. Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. New York, NY: Free, 2010. Electronic
"Enemy." Merriam-Webster. n.d. Web. 26 July 2014