Friday, March 23, 2007

Oscar Romero -- Martyrdom


March 24th marks the 27th anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador. Prophet and pastor, Romero spoke for the poor and the dispossessed. He opposed the powerful, and he was gunned down in his own cathedral by right wing death squads. Although his protege, Jon Sobrino, has been disciplined, his voice remains with us.


Romero, perhaps like John XXXIII, was a surprise. According to Renny Golden, he was a compromise choice of the conservative elite, and yet something happened that changed his life. Sonn after becoming Archbishop of San Salvador, one of his priests, Rutilio Grande, was murdered after challenging the wealthy elite whose dogs, he said, ate better than El Salvador's poor. When Romero drove out to view Grande's body, the peasants asked if he would speak for them as had Grande. He had a conversion experience of sorts and took on the mantle of spokesman for the poor. His choice to take this calling isolated himself from the hierarchy, who turned their backs on him and even reported on him to the Vatican.


In his final homily, just moments before being gunned down, he is reported saying: "One must not love oneself so much, as to avoid getting involved in the risks of life that history demands of us, and those that fend off danger will lose their lives." He lost his life because he stood alone against the military and for the poor.


During this period of service thousands died, even more fled the country, but Romero was unable to stop the violence. All he could do was speak out, his weekly homilies being broadcast on the radio as a voice of conscience. He said to the people: "If some day they take away the radio station from us . . . if they don't let us speak, if they kill all the priests and the bishop too, and you are left a people without priests, each one of you must become God's microphone, each one of you must become a prophet."


On March 24th we remember one who came unexpectedly to a calling. His prophetic role is a reminder that we too can be God's microphone.

3 comments:

Mystical Seeker said...

It is important to remember Oscar Romero. It was a terrible time back then in El Salvador, when the deaths squads, implicitly backed by the US government, were murdering anyone who supported social justice at the time. Four American nuns were also murdered by death squads during that same general time period.

Scott Starr said...

This is a nice blog you have. I think you and I are of the same kind of heart.

I have also written about Oscar Romero and you can find my posts about it HERE, HERE and HERE.

Oscar Romero was a great man. I have been familiar with the story of his plight since I was a younger man in 1982. keep it up brother and keep fighting the good fight.

Scott Starr said...

Here is something I just posted on another blog that relates to this topic. Oscar Romero lived these principles:

"The information war we see on TV every night and day and hear buzzing on the airwaves- the war against the matrix of delusion...against the World in its biblical definition..is a spiritual war....and if we have the courage to confront...to challenge... to lay it all out and stand up for the truth in love...it WORKS. That is what we are supposed to do. Sometimes we must correct and rebuke for truth to take hold. We defeat the world and the schemes of the Evil One by truth and love and sacrifice and the power of God...not always by being nice or non-confrontational.

There is-and this is the- DIFFERENCE between judging or condemning someone and rebuking someone and standing up for the truth. We MUST know this difference. A person will be reached by God working through us when we are guided by love, not by shouting loud enough or waving banners or throwing bricks.

I read a chapter in the book "What Jesus Demands From The World", that made the point that it is a GIFT from God when He makes room in our hearts to discern and absorb the Gospel- the truth and make sense out of it and make use of it in an everyday every moment way...not for some life down the road in the sweet hereafter but right here and right now down here in the mud and the blood and on the street and in our homes and in our relationships with everyone and everything.
John 6:44 (Amplified Bible)

44 No one is able to come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me attracts and draws him and gives him the desire to come to Me, and [then] I will raise him up [from the dead] at the last day.

John 6:65 (Amplified Bible)

65 And He said, This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted him [unless he is enabled to do so] by the Father.

Receiving truth is a gift!

I certainly don't claim to have the market on truth cornered by any means- but I do have this sense that in the broken parts of my life when I cried out to god for understanding, wisdom and truth and beauty- that he answered me affirmatively...and he continues to do so as long as I seek those things actively. I have begun to realize this more lately and have begun to pray for God to make use of me to give others the gift of understanding and the gift of room in their heart for the truth.

I will always be praying for the gift of a broken,contrite and open heart for myself and everyone around me. Jesus is awakened in us when our hearts are broken because of our sin unlike the judgmental Pharisee. Jesus said that those who do not listen to his words are "not of God" John 8:47

The blessing everyone desperately needs is that God makes room in our hearts for the truth.

Ultimately, as said, none of us can ever be effective on our own by making persuasive enough arguments or by protesting anything. It is God that leads and God that makes room in one's heart or mind to receive truth. What we should be doing is standing up and speaking for the truth and providing voices for God to use to get his work done."

Check out "What Jesus Demands From The World"- HERE.