November 24, 2015

Pope Francis: Like Blessed Oscar Romero, Every Christian Must Be Prepared for Martyrdom

On February 3, 2015, Pope Francis asked Cardinal Angelo Amato to officially authorize Archbishop Oscar Romero's decree of martyrdom, a major step toward his beatification. (A miracle is not required for beatification candidates who the Pope decrees as martyrs to be beatified.)

Romero’s beatification was held in San Salvador on May 23, 2015.

CNA/EWTN News reports that: 

On Oct. 30th, Pope Francis reflected on the life and death of Blessed Oscar Romero, who was recognized as a martyr earlier this year, stressing that each Christian ought to be ready to give their life for the faith.

"A martyr is not born. It's a grace that the Lord allows, and that in a way concerns every baptized person," Pope Francis told a group pilgrims from El Salvador.

Bl. Oscar Romero was Archbishop of San Salvador from 1977 until his March 24, 1980 martyrdom.

Quoting a phrase of Bl. Romero, the Pope said that "We must be willing to die for our faith, even if the Lord does not give us this honor."

[ ... ]

Because of [Romero's] advocacy for the poor, many accused the archbishop of supporting Marxist interpretations of liberation theology. However, theologians who worked closely with the archbishop have found no proof of the accusations, but rather argue that his love of the poor was rooted in Church teaching and the Gospel.

The Pope stressed that the rumors aren’t mere hearsay, but are things that he himself heard, adding that Bl. Oscar Romero is a man who continues to be a martyr even today.

Archbishop Oscar Romero Prayer: A Step Along The Way

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.

No prayer fully expresses our faith.

No confession brings perfection.

No pastoral visit brings wholeness.

No program accomplishes the Church's mission.

No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.

We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.

We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.

This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an
opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.

This prayer was composed by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, drafted for a homily by Card. John Dearden in Nov. 1979 for a celebration of departed priests. As a reflection on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Bishop Romero, Bishop Untener included in a reflection book a passage titled "The mystery of the Romero Prayer." The mystery is that the words of the prayer are attributed to Oscar Romero, but they were never spoken by him.

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