Hat-tip to these guys who remind us that today is the 29th anniversary of Oscar Romero's assassination. He was the Archbishop of El Salvador for only three years before he was gunned down while performing the Mass. He was appointed to the post because it was assumed he would be fairly docile and wouldn't seek to "rock the boat" of the oppressive political establishment of the time. They were wrong, and he began to speak openly against the brutal oppression and exploitation of the poor by the political regime. In the end, the government resorted to lethal violence to silence him.
Here is a prayer he wrote that is quite apt for the arc of his life:
and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is 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 another 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 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 effects 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 God'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.