Here I Am, Send Me

My life reveals that the relationship between faith and justice is fluid, fragile and unbalanced while simultaneously strong and beautiful. Although I have been involved in social justice work for several years, it wasn’t until very recently that I was able to make the connection between my innate call to justice and my questionable faith. Moreover, the relationship between justice and faith has been increasingly apparent in all facets of my life (academics, personally, in my job). My thesis research brought me to Mexico where I discovered that the Church is one of the only actors providing much-needed humanitarian aid to Central American refugees and asylum-seekers stranded at the U.S.-Mexico border. My father, a self-identified Catholic who is full of faith but can’t recall the last time he attended mass, recently took up volunteer work with the Diocese of Oakland as a result of his newly found free time in retirement. And lastly, I surprisingly found myself in a new job as a research assistant at the University of San Francisco to aid a professor in her research surrounding churches practice of sanctuary in the San Francisco Bay Area in the effort to present the practice of sanctuary as a way for churches to express who they are or announce who they are becoming. Eventually, it was abundantly clear: the fruitful and extraordinary relationship between faith and justice is manifest in my life and the life of others around me.

Isaiah 6:8 – Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Consider Isaiah, standing in the presence of the Lord. There Isaiah was, just a simple, ordinary man surrounded by divinity. Yet, when the Lord called out for a willing heart, Isaiah did not hesitate. He knew he was the most qualified for the job. Throughout my life, I have oftentimes felt like Isaiah. I hope the Catholic Church continues to embrace and reflect the essence of Isaiah’s message today and in the years to come.

-Melissa Balliet

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