We Are All Migrants

In his book, The Ascent of Mount Carmel,
the 16th century Spanish mystic,
St. John of the Cross said:
“To come to possess all,
desire the possession of nothing.”

His startling words stand in direct opposition
to our American ambition for
power, money, pleasure, glamour, security and
an ever increasing standard of living.
The saint came to realize that
an unrestrained appetite for these things
fragments the soul,
causing our lives to be
too divided and cluttered
to find the true peace and joy
that can only be found
in loving and serving God above all else.

On the cross, through grace,
reconciliation and union with God
became possible.
St. John of the Cross asks us
to live the Paschal Mystery,
to enter the living death of the cross.
He says,
“The soul must empty itself
of all that is not God
in order to go to God.”

The detached heart knows the fullness
of peace, joy and freedom,
and sees the face of God
illuminated in all of creation.

Those who struggle for their daily
bread can offer great insight
to those of us who struggle
to go deeper into our spiritual lives.

The road to mystical consciousness
is paved with an acceptance of our
natural state of exodus,
acceptance of the reality of human misery,
acceptance of our limitations and fragility.
The poor know about these things.
And the humanity of Christ illuminated
the vulnerable character of human nature.

While making my poverty films, I’ve came to see that
an awareness of oppression
and a struggle for justice
are integral to genuine mysticism.

The all-embracing Christ
invites us to be with Him,
so that He,
through us,
can be with all people.

We are all migrants.
As people of faith,
we are migrants
going from sin to grace,
from earth to heaven,
from death to life.
Our migration is grounded in
our belief that God
first migrated to us
in the person of Jesus
and through him
we are called to migrate to God.

If migration worked itself
into the self definition of all human beings
we would not be as threatened
by migrants as we often are;
instead, we would see in them
not only a reflection of ourselves
but Christ who loves us.

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