Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Archbishop Romero & All The Saints


 
Which one of us”—asked Pope Francis during his October 30, 2013 General Audience—“has not felt insecurities, losses and even doubts in the journey of faith?  We all have experienced them, however we should not be frightened, but trust in God and the intercession of the saints to overcome them, said the Holy Father.  When Archbishop Óscar A. Romero marked his first All Saints Day as archbishop, he returned to El Paisnal, where his friend Fr. Rutilio Grande, martyred at the beginning of that first year of his archbishopric, was buried. Romero recalled the Jesuit and his two peasant travel companions killed alongside him. “They have completed their work here on earth and they are now united with this multitude of saints in Heaven where we are able to contemplate them,” Romero said, “on this feast of All Saints Day. For they are united with the great multitude of persons who have survived the time of great tribulation … proclaimed in today’s Gospel.” (November 1, 1977 Homily.)
Lovingly, Romero recalled the other precious victims of his Church (as of that time): “I want to remember here our beloved brother, Father Alfonso Navarro, and our dear catechists—it is impossible to name all of them—but we remember, for example, Miguel Martinez and Filomena Puertas and so many other women and men who have ministered and died. At the time of their suffering and painful agony, when they were flogged and tortured and riddled with bullets, when they offered their lives in sacrifice, then were they received in Heaven.” (Id.) Referring to all of them, Romero asked, “Who has conquered? In the words of Scripture, we can ask our martyrs in heaven and those who killed them and continue to persecute the Christians: Where, O death, is your victory?  The victory is in faith. Those who have been killed for the cause of justice are victorious.” (Id.) A word that would apply today to the Bishop who uttered them.
Archbishop Romero was spiritually nourished by the “multitude of saints in Heaven” not only on All Saints Day, but throughout the liturgical year. Romero not only alluded to the saints collectively, but he pointed out the specific virtues of the saints of popular Catholicism.  A few examples:
Saint Joseph:
As we all know Saint Joseph has a unique relationship with [Jesus and Mary]. For Mary, Saint Joseph was her husband. Those of you who have the dignity of being a husband, reflect on what it means to be the husband in a home, the father of a family. This is Saint Joseph’s role not only for the Holy Family but for the family that has grown into the great family of God. (12/19/1977 Hom.)
God needs women and men to be instruments like Saint Joseph and the angels who collaborated with God in the development of his plans of love and salvation and hope on earth. Blessed are those Christians who know how to sanctify their lives with the gospel and who, like Saint Joseph, become instruments of God’s salvation. (12/28/1977 Hom.)
St. Francis of Assisi:
Between the readings, the choir from Tejutla sang the beautiful hymn of Saint Francis of Assisi: praise to you, Lord, and may you be adored. For that man, Saint Francis of Assisi, a poor man, called all creatures to praise you. (10/1/1978 Hom.)
St. Martin of Porres:
On November 3rd, I was happy to celebrate the feast of Saint Martin de Porres in Quezaltepeque. Many boys and girls dressed like Saint Martin and carried brooms that represented the call and the message of this saint. Privileged people and people in lofty positions do not attract God’s blessing in the same way as humble people who, like Saint Martin, know how to make their broom and their daily chores (whether small or great) instruments of their sanctification. The destiny of humankind is not to obtain large a amount of money or power but to fulfill the will of God. This is the message that we communicated to the people of Quezaltepeque on this feast of Saint Martin. (11/6/1977 Hom.)
St. Teresa of the Child Jesus:
Remember that the saint of the missions is Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus, a contemplative sister, who never left her cloister in Lisieux, France. Yet here is the secret of the missionary: from the cloister, the home, the store, the marketplace—from whatever profession, like Saint Theresa, offer all your sorrows and sacrifices for the missions. When the poor, tired woman, suffering from tuberculosis, walked in the patio of the convent and became tired, she rested on an earthenware flower pot and said: I offer my weariness to the Lord for the missionary who at this moment is walking through unknown lands. My sisters and brothers, how beautiful it is to be a missionary ... (8/21/1977 Hom.)
St. Anthony:
In Soyapango we celebrated the feast of Saint Anthony and applied the message of this saint of the Middle Ages to the present day situation. This was a saint who because of his studies knew how to speak difficult truths in his time. (6/17/1979 Hom.)
This does not take into account the countless times that Archbishop Romero spoke of the Blessed Virgin, Saint Paul, his numerous quotations of St. Augustine, and other theological and evangelical references in his preaching. In the case of the Mother of God, Archbishop Romero summarized all of his remarks when he said, “The history of Latin America cannot be understood without including devotion to the Virgin.” (12/9/1979 Hom.) [MORE.]
Putting his faith in all the saints, Romero prayed, “Let us not be afraid! Let us follow these roads that will lead us to the celebration of All Souls Day! Let us pray for one another so that we might also live with the saints in heaven and participate in the glory of the risen Christ!” (11/1/1977 Hom., supra.)
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