We Are All Migrants

In his book, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, 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.

As I made my film Endless Exodus, which explored the plight of undocumented migrants, I 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.

“At the evening of life, you will be examined in Love.”  -St. John of the Cross

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1 Response to “We Are All Migrants”


  1. 1 GOvideoHAWAII May 7, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    I especially liked your statement “…unrestrained appetite for these things fragments the soul.” Makes perfect sense to me! Very good post, Gerry!
    Danny


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