Sometimes faith comes with a price – an expensive exchange if we’re serious about it. Consider Archbishop Oscar Romero, who in faith raised his voice against injustices pervading El Salvador and paid with his life, martyred on 24 March 1980 while celebrating Mass at the Divina Providencia Chapel in San Salvador.
As we remember Archbishop Oscar Romero’s life of courageous faith, the love of Jesus Christ he shared (especially with the poor), and the sacrifice of his life – his voice continues to challenge our world toward justice.
Selected as Archbishop of San Salvador in 1977, he was considered a ‘safe choice’ – an academic. He could have continued comfortably as he was, yet the murder of his good friend, Jesuit Father Rutilio Grande, shook him to stand up for the rights of the poor, which he did tirelessly to all sides of the conflict in El Salvador.
After receiving death threats a few weeks before he was murdered, he said: “Let it be known that it is no longer possible to kill the voice of justice.” May his words continue to stir our hearts with faith that stands up for others, loves without prejudice, seeks mutual understanding, and works toward lasting justice.
“Christianity is not a collection of truths that one has to believe, of laws one has to keep, a list of prohibitions. Christianity is a Person that loved me so much that He demands my love. Christianity is Christ.” (November 6, 1977)
“This is the mission of the church: to awaken the spiritual meaning of life, the divine worth of human action.” (August 20, 1978)
“It is not enough to attend Mass on Sunday; it is not enough to call yourself a Catholic. Appearances are not enough. God is not satisfied with appearance. God wants the garment of justice. God wants Christians dressed in love.” (October 15, 1978)
“Faith doesn’t only mean believing with the head but also committing your heart and your life.” (January 7, 1979)
“A civilization of love is not sentimentality; it is justice & truth. True love consists in demanding of the relationships with those we love what is just. There can’t be love where there are lies.” (April 12, 1979)
“Social justice is not so much a law that orders distribution. Seen from a Christian perspective, it is an internal attitude like that of Christ, who being wealthy, became poor to share His love with the poor. Share what you are & what you have.” (February 24, 1980)
“If only we realized that the person in need is Christ, the one who has been tortured, the one who has been imprisoned, the one who has been murdered, and if, in the body of each person thrown in so undignified a fashion by the side of the road, we were to see the Christ who was left there, I would wager a golden medal that we would pick him up tenderly and we would kiss him and we would not be ashamed of him.” (March 16, 1980)
“That this immolated Body and this Blood sacrificed for humankind, may nourish our bodies and our blood in suffering and in pain, like Christ, not for its own sake, but rather to give the concepts of justice and peace to our people. Let us join together then, intimately in faith and hope in this moment of prayer.” (March 24, 1980)
p.s. For those of you unfamiliar with the life of Blessed Archbishop Oscar Romero, click here to read more about his life via The Archbishop Romero Trust.