In the Spanish language the word for a political border is la frontera, the frontier. During our recent trip to the Mexico – U.S. border with my class that we took during our time at the Mexican American Catholic College this difference in phrasing was on my mind. For the Spanish speaking mind a boundary is not something meant to be final and definite, but something much more abstract and yet equally foreign. A frontier demonstrates that growth is possible and perhaps even called for. This is not to say that a Spanish speaker necessarily thinks that their political boundaries are meant to ever expand, but that they instead have a different way of looking at where one thing ends and another begins. Instead of a definite boundary there is a region of liminality where both interact in an exchange.
If one looks at faith as a journey, an image that has held a strong place in my life for many years, then the frontier is a place where one may be called to travel. The new evangelization, and one’s acceptance of continual conversion, seems to require that we enter into these areas of exchange between what we are comfortable with and what we may be less comfortable with. The immigrant gives us an example of this willingness to cross the frontier. These individuals are lacking crucial aspects of their lives, such as safety and economic stability, and are primarily in search of those things. Those of us who routinely experience our basic human needs being met have the opportunity to cross a different, but similar, kind of frontier to find greater communion with God in the sacraments and in the Church. One never really experiences fulfillment in this life, that kind a beauty and happiness is reserved for the beatific vision in the life to come, and so we always have the opportunity to grow by entering the frontier as our own kind of immigrant; an immigrant on the way to the Kingdom of God.
- First Photo: http://www.longislandwins.com/images/editorial/20110710-feature.JPG