A Voice for the Voiceless
In these trying times both nationally and internationally, it is easy to feel powerless.We live in a world where the media is frequently accused of being proponents of ‘fake news’, our politics is polarising and where you are either a ‘winner’ or a ‘loser’ in many areas of life.The example given by the New Zealand prime minister during the Christchurch tragedy was both compassionate and refreshingly honest. We saw a person who was genuinely grieving during a time of great desolation. The sad thing is that this behaviour from a leader is seen as extraordinary. Arden gave life to true leadership qualities, guidance, compassion and empathy and she made it clear that these qualities were required in every instance, not just when it is advantageous.
At times such as these it’s sometimes helpful to reflect on the words and actions of truly compassionate and brave people.Individuals who speak out because it’s the right thing to do, even when the consequences are harsh. One such person was Oscar Romero, a model Christian and a true leader. For those who don’t know his story, Romero was a priest from El Salvador and the Archbishop of San Salvador.He was a strong advocate for the poor and he spoke out against poverty, social injustice and the corruption and cruelty of the government. He was the voice of the voiceless and his voice was silenced on 24 March, 1980, when he was shot and killed while saying Mass in a local hospital.
There was disbelief and despair across the country.This was felt most painfully by the poor communities with which he had worked, the simple rural folk and city dwellers.Romero had loved these people dearly and he defended them courageously in ways that ultimately cost him his life. Archbishop Romero was declared a martyr by Pope Francis in 2015, and was made a saint on 14 October 2018. The following prayer which has become known as The Oscar Romero Prayer was written by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, Michigan and it has been appropriated as it matches very closely with the values lived out by Romero. It is a beautiful prayer and I commend it to you as a source of hope and trust in God and our world.
Prayer of Archbishop Oscar Romero
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 realising 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.
I pray that you and your families have a good week.
Dr Frank Pitt
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