Sunday, March 24, 2019

Saint Oscar Romero: A Splendid Crown, a Sure Reward

I have posted some of these words before, these final prophetic words from the homily of St Oscar Romero preached in the hospital chapel where, moments later, he would suffer martyrdom on March 24, 1980.

These last words from this singularly courageous and wise bishop - what resounding authority they possess! These words were sealed with his own blood. They are words that summarize the supernatural heart of all his preaching, his work for the poor, his cries for justice for the people of El Salvador, his conviction that God's love is stronger than death.

He speaks of the Christian and human vocation, and the mysterious but ultimately enduring value of our efforts to build up the good in this world when we seek to do God's will, when we work with faith, hope, and love of God.

Death does not define us and need not defeat us. The Spirit of God will bring to fruition in the kingdom all the seeds of goodness we sow in this present life, when we live and act with the hope that holds fast to the Risen Jesus:
"This is the hope that inspires us as Christians. We know that every effort to improve society, especially when injustice and sin are so widespread, is an effort that God blesses, that God wants, that God requires of us....
"Of course, we must purify [our ideals and efforts] in Christianity and invest them with hope for what lies beyond because in that way they become stronger. For we have the assurance that we will never fail in all the work we do on earth if we infuse it with Christian hope. We will find it purified in that kingdom where our merit will be according to what we have done on this earth....
"I ask all of you, dear brothers and sisters, to view these things that are happening in our historical moment with a spirit of hope, generosity, and sacrifice. And let us do what we can. We can all do something and be more understanding....
"If we illuminate with Christian hope our intense longings for justice and peace and all that is good, then we can be sure that no one dies forever. If we have imbued our work with a sense of great faith, love of God, and hope for humanity, then all our endeavors will lead to the splendid crown that is the sure reward for the work of sowing truth, justice, love, and goodness on earth.
"Our work does not remain here; it is gathered and purified by the Spirit of God and returned to us as a reward."