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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Oscar Romero

Oscar Romero

Thirty-six years ago today, the Archbishop of El Salvador, Oscar Romero, was assassinated during mass. It was a stunning act of treachery, ordered and executed from within the people in power. But instead of silencing Oscar Romero, his best intentions were made immortal.

Romero was not a highly politicized person; in fact, he shunned the liberation theology movement around him. His cause was steadfastly with the poor, social justice, and the cessation of the violence that had engulfed his country.

The histories of these tiny republics along the Central American Isthmus are written in the blood or martyrs like Oscar Romero. No country has been immune to the violence that has taken the lives of many people of high profile, such as Romero and Benjamin Linder in Nicaragua, who are emblems for a much wider and deeper problem of violations of the rights and even murders of thousands of nameless people.

Here are some words of Oscar Romero, something on which to reflect while enjoying this marvelous holiday.

Oscar Romero
Portrait of Oscar Romero by Puig Reixach.

It helps, now and then, to step back
and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of
the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete,
which is another way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No programme accomplishes the church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for God's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders,
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

Oscar Romero

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