Are you ready? No, I'm not asking if you've decorated your Christmas tree or crossed items off of your shopping list. Have you considered how you will embark on the journey of faith that is encouraged of each of us during this season of Advent and, particularly, in the Church's "Year of Faith?"
In his "Motu Propio," Porta Fidei, Pope Benedict XVI declared October 11, 2012 to November 24, 2013 as the "Year of Faith" and invited the faithful everywhere to "communicate Christ to individuals and all people in the Church's pilgrimage along the pathways of history." The season of Advent is the perfect time to get serious about preparing ourselves for a new year filled with faithful service.
Personally, I consider this time an opportunity to recommit myself to my work at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINC) and to promote ethical perspectives on immigration that are often missing from the resettlement conversation. I am challenging myself to more completely live by the tenants of Catholic Social Teaching and to advocate for positions in solidarity with immigrants--positions focused on increasing family-based immigration, providing a path to legal status for groups like agricultural laborers and undocumented children raised in the United States, allowing certain undocumented persons to "earn" legal status through their labor, demonstration of good character, and payment of a fine, and the targeted enforcement of humane immigration laws. With refreshed perspective offered through the season, I strive to encourage others to see immigrants in the way the church views newcomers, as the face of God.
I urge you, during this "Year of Faith" and throughout Advent, to reach out to your local CLINIC affiliate; volunteer your time or donate to programs that will not only welcome the stranger, but that revitalize your spirit. Reflect upon our many blessings as Americans and boldly confess a commitment to caring for God's creation. Most importantly, call to mind the Holy Family of Nazareth, fleeing into Egypt, the archetype of every refugee family. Revisit “the reason for the season” and realize that migration is not just about other people, it is a central narrative of our faith.
*Tessa is the Communications Officer/Web Content Coordinator for CLINIC