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Seeing the Face of Christ

Oscar Romero reminds us: “The face of Christ is among the sacks and baskets of the farmworker; the face of Christ is among those who are tortured and mistreated in the prisons; the face of Christ is dying of hunger in the children who have nothing to eat; the face of Christ is in the poor who ask the church for their voice to be heard. How can the church deny this request when it is Christ who is telling us to speak for him.”

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A Revolution of Christ’s Love

A revolution motivated by the power of love instead of arms, a revolution that seeks not the overthrow but the conversion of society: This became Romero’s focus during his final three years as archbishop of San Salvador. For the ruling elite, conversion meant the softening of their stony hearts and an embrace of the biblical truth that all people are equally beloved by God and equally deserving of the world’s resources.

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Pastor, Prophet, Martyr

The priest’s task is to bring the people to God, and the prophet’s to bring God to the people. The martyr’s unique role is to display a devotion to God and the Kingdom so boundlessly loving that it reignites in the rest of us a faith that may have grown tepid or even cold. We look to the martyrs to remind us that some things are worth sacrificing our lives for, but that the love which motivates us to make those sacrifices is more powerful than death itself. This is the great truth embodied in the resurrection, and every individual martyrdom, including Romero’s, is a reflection of it.

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Reflecting the Reign of God

Romero was clear in his own mind and conscience that he was doing Christ’s work, not playing power politics. “We not only read the Bible, we analyze it, we celebrate it, we incarnate it in our reality, we want to make it our life. [Our goal is] to incarnate the Word of God in our people. This is not politics. When we point out the political, social, and economic sins in the homily, this is the Word of God incarnate in our reality, a reality that often does not reflect the reign of God but rather sin. We proclaim the Gospel to point out to people the paths of redemption.”

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A worshipper holds a prayer card of St. Oscar Romero during a Spanish-language Mass Oct. 14 at Our Lady of Loretto Church in Hempstead, N.Y. The parish ministers to one of the largest communities of Salvadoran immigrants in the U.S. and was celebrating the canonization of Salvadoran St. Oscar Romero and six other new saints canonized at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Oscar Romero: Journey to Sainthood

Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, was gunned down on March 24, 1980, while celebrating Mass. Over the next few days, his body lay in state in the cathedral where he had so often preached. Thousands of mourners filed past his coffin, many of them campesinos, landless peasants and field workers, who had traveled miles to be there.

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Mother Teresa: A True Saint

In his autobiographical The Seven Storey Mountain, Thomas Merton remembers a conversation with poet Robert Lax. The two friends were strolling in Greenwich Village shortly after Merton’s conversion to Christianity when Lax suddenly asked: “What do you want to be, anyway?”

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