Presente!

Today marks the 34th Anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero. A sad day indeed. Today nobody has ever been brought to justice. And while he has been often talked about as becoming a saint, he remains short of that title. Recently, however the Vatican has placed him on a track for sainthood.

What I loved about Romero is not that he was fearless, rather, that he was afraid and he overcame fear with faith.

“I do not believe in death without resurrection,” he said. “If they kill me, I will be resurrected in the Salvadoran people.”

And that friends, is always more than enough. To believe that God will always make a way out of no way is a sign of true faith. St. Ignatius’ first principle and foundation essentially belies this fact:

Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul.
And the other things on the face of the earth are created for man and that they may help him in prosecuting the end for which he is created.
From this it follows that man is to use them as much as they help him on to his end, and ought to rid himself of them so far as they hinder him as to it.
For this it is necessary to make ourselves indifferent to all created things in all that is allowed to the choice of our free will and is not prohibited to it; so that, on our part, we want not health rather than sickness, riches rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, long rather than short life, and so in all the rest; desiring and choosing only what is most conducive for us to the end for which we are created.

Or in short: No matter what; God will always have our back, even if the worst thing happens–even if we die, God will redeem our suffering and pain.

And that is a tough truth to accept, but it is comforting and freeing when we do so.

The final words of Romero were from a homily:

“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.”

Sr. Peggy O’Neill, SC, who runs the Center for the Arts in Suchitoto in El Salvador has lived her life for the Salvadoran people. She has hid from the government and lived the danger of which MonseƱor Romero spoke. She often chides students who visit her and tells them:

“If your dreams aren’t scary, then you’re not dreaming big enough.”

Amen. Romero dreamed of a world in which governments would not brutally oppress their people. In standing up for the dignity of his people, Romero found Christ within his heart for the poor.

Today let’s pray for the cause of Romero’s sainthood and for the people of El Salvador.

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