St. Oscar Romero (1917-1980) was a “Salvadoran Roman Catholic archbishop who was a vocal critic of the violent activities of government armed forces, right-wing groups, and leftist guerrillas involved in El Salvador’s civil conflict (Encyclopedia Britannica).” As a voice of the voiceless, he was an outspoken champion of the poor who were the ones most affected by the civil unrest and violence. His advocacy provoked several attempts on his life. Nonetheless, St. Oscar Romero was convinced that before all else his faith in the resurrected Christ and the values of the Gospel trumped any earthly concern or worry. He walked with complete confidence and trust. On March 24, 1980, St. Oscar Romero was assassinated while celebrating Mass. Such is often the fate of those who challenge the socio-political agendas of the day.
We may look at the example of witness of St. Oscar Romero as something extraordinary. In one sense it is. Through the power of God, an ordinary human being did extraordinary things. But, in and of himself, St. Oscar Romero was simply a humble, loving servant of God. Oscar knew not only the power of love but the risk that comes when loving unconditionally. The beauty of God’s message was able to shine in and through him because he was able to step out of the way and be a vessel. One can assume that for St. Oscar Romero, one’s earthly life has no merit when faith, integrity, conviction, zeal and love are jettisoned. Fear and apprehension had no grip on this man who not only saw but spoke the truth.
Do we speak the truth? It makes us feel good to speak of God as love. But have we ever considered the ramifications of this radical message? There are assaults on human life occurring daily. More and more the value and worth of a human being is being reduced and minimalized. We are becoming widgets in the production of life. In our whole simple humble ways, we too are called to be prophets. Knowing who you are and what is within your means to do, how can you make God’s love real, stand up for what is right, and give witness to the sacredness of all that is around you?
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