Inspirations: Oscar Romero (1917-1980) - Pastor, Advocate For The Poor, Martyr

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“Christ put his classroom of redemption among the poor – not because money is evil, but because money often makes slaves of those who worship the things of earth and forget about God.” December 25, 1978

“With all contributing their own interior life, their own responsibility, their own way of being, all can build the beautiful structure of the common good, the good that we construct together and that creates conditions of kindness, of trust, of freedom, of peace. Then we can, all of us together, build the republic – the res publica, the public concern – what belongs to all of us and what we all have the duty of building.” July 10, 1977

“For the church, the many abuses of human life, liberty, and dignity are a heartfelt suffering. The church, entrusted with the earth’s glory, believes that in each person is the Creator’s image and that everyone who tramples it offends God. As holy defenders of God’s rights and of his images, the church must cry out. It takes as spittle in its face, as lashes on its back, as the cross in its passion, all that human beings suffer, even though they be unbelievers. They suffer as God’s images. 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.” December 31, 1977

"This is the mission entrusted to the church, a hard mission: to uproot sins from history, to uproot sins from the political order, to uproot sins from the economy, to uproot sins wherever they are. What a hard task! It has to meet conflicts amid so much selfishness, so much pride, so much vanity, so many who have enthroned the reign of sin among us.   The church must suffer for speaking the truth, for pointing out sin, for uprooting sin. No one wants to have a sore spot touched, and therefore a society with so many sores twitches when someone has the courage to touch it and say, 'You have to treat that. You have to get rid of that. Believe in Christ. Be converted.'" January 15, 1978

“There is one rule by which to judge if God is near us or is far away – the rule that God’s word is giving us today: everyone concerned for the hungry, the naked, the poor, for those who have vanished in police custody, for the tortured, for prisoners, for all flesh that suffers, has God close at hand.” February 5, 1978

“The guarantee of one’s prayer is not in saying a lot of words. The guarantee of one’s petition is very easy to know: how do I treat the poor? Because that is where God is. The degree to which you approach them, and the love with which you approach them, or the scorn with which you approach them – that is how you approach your God. What you do to them, you do to God. The way you look at them is the way you look at God.” 

“The church considers this its ministry: to defend God’s image in human beings.” January 21, 1979

“All of us, if we really want to know the meaning of conversion and of faith and confidence in another, must become poor, or at least make the cause of the poor our own inner motivation. That is when one begins to experience faith and conversion: when one has the heart of the poor, when one knows that financial capital, political influence, and power are worthless, and that without God we are nothing. To feel that need of God is faith and conversion.” February 18, 1979

“We should not feel superior when we help anyone. Those who give materially receive spiritually. There is exchange of property that is understood only in a true spirit of poverty, which makes the rich feel they are close brothers and sisters of the poor, and makes the poor feel they are equal givers and not inferior to the rich. The giving is mutual, ‘that there may be equality,’ as St. Paul says.” July 1, 1979

“The whole purpose of the church’s existence is to make obvious and operative, in the midst of humanity, the abundant energy of the death and resurrection of the Lord… The church does not exist for itself. Its raison d’être is the same as that of Jesus: service to God to save the world.” First Pastoral Letter, April 10, 1977

“In the countenance of every individual, especially in a countenance made transparent by tears and suffering, we can and should recognize the countenance of Christ (Matthew 25:40).” Georgetown Address on February 14, 1978

“I am going to speak to you simply as a pastor, as one who, together with his people, has been learning the beautiful but harsh truth that the Christian faith does not cut us off from the world but immerses us in it, that the church is not a fortress set apart from the city. The church follows Jesus who lived, worked, battled and died in the midst of a city, in the polis.” Louvain Address on February 2, 1980