Yesterday we who live in the States remembered those who gave their lives so that we might speak and worship openly.
Today, it seems fitting to remember those who fought to see those privileges bestowed upon their neighbors. One of those warriors was Oscar Romero, a Roman Catholic archbishop in El Salvador. In 1977 he was appointed archbishop of San Salvador largely because it was believed he would not be too forceful of a voice. But after his friend was assassinated for rallying against the government, Romero decided he could not stay silent. So the weapon-less warrior lifted the mightiest of swords in a battle of words and life-affirming actions.
Romero died a love-warrior’s death: shot by an assassin while presiding over Holy Communion.
Why was he killed? Because his words and actions rattled the sabers of those holding worldly power. See for yourself… And see if you aren’t a bit rattled, too…
“You cannot reap what you have not sown. How are we going to reap love in our community if we only sow hate?”
“Those who, in the biblical phrase, would save their lives—that is, those who want to get along, who don’t want commitments, who don’t want to get into problems, who want to stay outside of a situation that demands the involvement of all of us—they will lose their lives. What a terrible thing to have lived quite comfortably, with no suffering, not getting involved in problems, quite tranquil, quite settled, with good connections politically, economically, socially—lacking nothing, having everything. To what good? They will lose their lives.”
“There is no dichotomy between man and God’s image. Whoever tortures a human being, whoever abuses a human being, whoever outrages a human being abuses God’s image, and the church takes as its own that cross, that martyrdom.” [from The Violence of Love]
“The transcendence that the church preaches is not alienation; it is not going to heaven to think about eternal life and forget about the problems on earth. It’s a transcendence from the human heart. It is entering into the reality of a child, of the poor,of those wearing rags, of the sick, of a hovel,of a shack. It is going to share with them. And from the very heart of misery, of this situation, to transcend it, to elevate it, to promote it, and to say to them, ‘You aren’t trash. You aren’t marginalized.’ It is to say exactly the opposite, ‘You are valuable’.”
“By contrast, whoever out of love for God gives oneself to the service of others will live, like the grain of wheat that dies, but only apparently… Only in undoing itself does it produce the harvest.”
“Each one of you has to be God’s microphone.”
“Peace is not the product of terror or fear.
Peace is not the silence of cemeteries.
Peace is not the silent result of violent repression.
Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all.
Peace is dynamism.
Peace is generosity.
It is right and it is duty.”
“It is not enough to be good. It is not enough to not do evil. My Christianity is something more positive; it is not a negative.”
“I don’t want to be an anti, against anybody. I simply want to be the builder of a great affirmation: the affirmation of God,who loves us and who wants to save us.”
“If we are worth anything, it is not because we have more money or more talent, or more human qualities. Insofar as we are worth anything, it is because we are grafted on to Christ’s life, his cross and resurrection. That is a person’s measure.”
“Beautiful is the moment in which we understand that we are no more than an instrument of God; we live only as long as God wants us to live; we can only do as much as God makes us able to do; we are only as intelligent as God would have us be.”
“There are many things that can only be seen through eyes that have cried.”