Every Advent, it seems, I’m gifted with a song – new or familiar – that provides the background music for my journey through the season. The promise and eager anticipation of Advent have always stirred my soul, and the songs of these weeks often reflect those feelings. But this year feels different. This time, Advent has felt for me like a time of doubt, upset, and confusion, reflecting the mood of our country, no matter on which side of the political fence one sits. Continue reading →
“You have to understand, that no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.” – Somali – British poet Warsan Shire
Sunday, December 18th is International Migrants Day. As a Dominican Volunteer with the Dominican Leadership Conference NGO to the United Nations, one of my focus areas was the issue of migration. I learned about the impossible decision individuals made to leave their home, their livelihood, their family, and travel incredible distances through desert, mountain, land, and sea while risking being kidnapped, robbed, cheated, stranded, or even trafficked.
Migration has always been an issue that evokes a great deal of emotion within me especially in our current global context where immigrants and refugees are faced with such dire situations that they have no other option but to take journeys (that often put themselves or their families in danger) in the hopes of finding a better life. I can’t imagine attempting to make a 1,500 mile journey riding on top of a train, walking 389 miles in the desert, or attempting to survive a three-day-long trip across the Mediterranean Sea in a rubber boat crowded with hundreds of others.
And yet, individuals take these journeys daily. It is incredible, and terrifying, to see how large the issue of migration is and how seemingly interconnected it is to every other justice issue. War, violence, poverty, political instability or repression, lack of access to food, water, and healthcare, discrimination, religious persecution, human rights violations, depressed economies, climate change, and natural disasters are all factors that push, and even force, individuals to leave their sense of familiarity and comfort behind to try to make a new home.
We are all in Constant Need
In a sense, we are all migrants; life is a constant spiritual, emotional, and physical journey. The acts of moving and searching fill our life-long journey. In that solidarity, let us stand with our sisters and brothers who are forced to search, to walk, to move, and to migrate and get to know their journey.
Politically, it’s been a long, long year. Elections are over, and Advent comes with its longings, its dreams, its assurances. Peace, comfort, promise of ways made smooth, of rejoicing and gladness. We’ve just celebrated Gaudete Sunday. Rejoice!
Do the liturgical readings ring true for you? Are you able to believe the prophets’ visions? After all the political tumult, the revelation that America’s unity, the “American dream” is a sham, that has shown starkly to us the cracks and the crevices that divide us, the jagged peaks and sinkholes of anger and fear, do you believe in the possibility of healing and wholeness, the testimony of prophets and the Gospel to the unity of humankind? Continue reading →
This past week I had the privilege to serve as liturgist for the Mohun Health Care Center Retreat, with Rev. R.B. Williams, OP, as the preacher.The theme he chose was from a ritual used in most Dominican profession ceremonies when the aspiring Dominican is asked “what do you seek?” to which they respond, “God’s mercy and yours.” In the retreat conferences throughout the retreat, he developed this theme as both God’s mercy and people’s mercy were portrayed in the scriptures of the day and in our Dominican life of prayer, study, community and ministry. Continue reading →
I’ve spent much of my life afraid to give voice to my values, beliefs and opinions or to even know what they are. By putting myself in teaching situations and speaking engagements, I’ve gained confidence in expressing myself, though it is still a struggle. Writing, however, has always been my safe haven for processing and unraveling my thoughts. But, something in me is starting to change as a result of feeling post-election blues. I can’t sit on the sidelines anymore and be silent. Continue reading →