Wednesday, November 23, 2011

ÓSCAR ROMERO’S THANKSGIVING


It is easy enough to give thanks for good and pleasant things, that we readily count as blessings. At the end of the first year of his ministry, Archbishop Romero reminded us (full text) also to be thankful for the trials and hardships that make us stronger, and to pray for those who test us.
This is the act of thanksgiving that we offer on this night as we conclude this year: we gather together and offer all the pain and suffering and injustice and abuse. As was said in our newspaper Orientación … we have perhaps lived the most tragic year in our history, yet for the Church this has been the most fertile and productive year ...
Let us give thanks to God for beneath the cross of 1977 we have seen the flourishing of seeds of hope and renewal and conversion and new vocations and faith. How many people have come to the Church and said that they had lost their faith, but thanks to the cross of 1977 they have recovered their faith! Yes it is also true that many people have distanced themselves from the Church. Those people separated themselves from the Church who had to be separated—like leaves of the tree that have changed color and are no longer able to withstand the strong winds ...
Let us give thanks to God, yes let us give thanks even for those offenses and insults, for just as the bloodied and beaten Jesus turned toward his Father and said: Father, forgive them, they know not what they do, so too this voice of Jesus during his passion has become the voice of the Church—the voice that asks for mercy for those who have offended her.
There is another reason to give thanks to God: the way in which we have tried to be faithful to the gospel and to the holy spouse of the Church, Jesus Christ. The Church has been very clear about her program: to be faithful to the gospel and in light of the gospel to analyze her life, her social relationships and her place in the world. Those things that can withstand the light of the gospel are authentic. The happiness of the children of the Church is true happiness when it is rooted in the gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ who said: Blessed are those whose hearts are freed from the prisons of wealth, of selfishness, of hatred, and of rancor ...
At a time when we have seen so much bloodshed and hatred and evil may we call upon Mary to give us a new year and a new humanity. May the hearts of people be renewed. May the pains of conversion become pains of hope and the pain of the cross become a cross that redeems ... May all these criminal hands that have spilled so much blood be converted! May their pain be converted into repentance and may they become the builders of a better world ...
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