12.26.2011

A Prayer by Oscar Romero

A few weeks ago, Professor Schiltz who I had for contracts, read the prayer below at the start of class.  That got me looking for more information about the person the prayer was attributed to.  Oscar Romero was assassinated in 1980 due to his support of the poor and down-trodden amidst the civil war in El Salvador.  His views were characterized as supporting communism, and the assassination was quite possibly carried out by U.S. trained para-military forces apposing communism.  One can read more about Romero at this site maintained by U.S. Catholic and at Wikipedia.

While reading about Romero I discovered that he may not have written the prayer that follows, but regardless of who wrote the prayer, I love the humility and frankness with which the author writes.

I think the prayer can be especially powerful for those in the midst of starting a new thing, or those looking to create systemic change in the way the world around them operates.

A Prayer by 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 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 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.
Amen.

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