“You cannot reap what you have not sown. How are we going to reap love in our country, if we only sow hate?” Archbishop Óscar Romero (10 July 1977)
38 years after his death, Blessed Óscar Romero will be canonized in Rome on Sunday, 14 October 2018. For my non-Catholic friends, this means he will officially become a saint – the first from El Salvador to be so honored.
A voice for the voiceless during brutal times of injustice and conflict, Archbishop Óscar Romero was killed in San Salvador on 24 March 1980, shot by right-wing militants while saying mass at a small chapel in the Hospital de la Divina Providencia – a Catholic hospital specializing in oncology and palliative care for terminally ill patients.
Now his martyrdom and voice for justice will be honored with sainthood.
As we remember Archbishop Óscar Romero’s life of courageous faith and the love of Jesus Christ he shared (especially with the poor) may his voice continue to challenge our world toward justice based on God’s love for all people.
Selected as Archbishop of San Salvador in 1977, he was considered a ‘safe choice’ – an academic – but the brutal 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.
As government censorship suppressed coverage of escalating violence against poor communities, Archbishop Romero faithfully reported what was happening through weekly radio broadcasts that became one of the most listened-to programs in El Salvador.
His words then are still relevant today:
“We might be left without a radio station: God’s best microphone is Christ, and Christ’s best microphone is the Church, and the Church is all of you. Let each one of you, in your own job, in your own vocation—nun, married person, bishop, priest, high school or university student, day laborer, wage earner, market woman—one in your own place … live faith intensely and feel that in your surroundings you are a true microphone of God our Lord.”
After receiving death threats a few weeks before he was murdered, he said on one of his last broadcasts: “Let it be known that it is no longer possible to kill the voice of justice.”
May Archbishop Óscar Romero’s voice continue to stir our hearts to be God’s microphones with faith that stands up for others, loves without prejudice, seeks mutual understanding, and works toward lasting justice.
“Uniformity is different from unity. Unity means pluralism, with everyone respecting how others think, and among all of us, creating a unity that is greater than just my way of thinking.” (29 May 1977)
“We shall be firm in defending our rights, but with great love in our hearts.” (19 June 1977)
grace, peace & sacrificial saints
p.s. You can check out this previous post for more inspirational quotes from this saint of love and justice: 24 March – Oscar Romero, A Life of Courageous Faith