Daniel Groody, CSC, a University of Notre Dame theologian has cited a flyer that he had seen once that said “Did you know that you could miss heaven by 18 inches? Eighteen inches is the distance from the head to the heart.” This made me smile when I heard him say it at a conference entitled “Dying to Live: Migration, Religious Life and the Eucharist,” but I am compelled to ponder the essential message to me as an Associate of the Dominican Sisters of Peace.
Recently I listened to another presentation where Fr. Groody crystalized my understanding that migration is simultaneously “one of the most complex and simplest issues because people either don’t understand the facts or aren’t listening to each other.” He calls himself a “Border Theologian” because of the existence of geographical borders among countries and spiritual borders in our relationship with God and each other. His message is to move beyond our own “borders” and try to understand the complex task of moving from “head to heart to feet and back again.”
Fr. Groody suggests that in his years of trying to be a theologian and a human being, he has identified basic facts: migrants feel that they are on a journey as nobodies; migrants are struggling to become somebodies with dignity and respect; the Eucharist is the bond between us because it connects Jesus to all of us. “Theology supplies a way of thinking about migration that keeps the human issues at the center of the debate. It offers not just more information but a new imagination, one that reflects at its core what it means to be human before God and to live together in community.”
Here’s a link to learning more about the source of “new imagination.”