17 February 2010

a violent Lenten love

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Next month will mark the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Oscar Romero, who was the archbishop of San Salvador. During the Lenten season, I’ll be reading the book The Violence of Love, which is a collection of his thoughts compiled by Romero’s Jesuit biographer, James Brockman. Here are some of his comments following the murder of a priest and many of his parishioners:

“We will be firm in defending our rights—
but with a great love in our hearts,
because when we defend ourselves with love
we are also seeking sinners’ conversion.
That is the Christian’s vengeance.”
JUNE 19, 1977

That entry is footnoted with this: “In mid-May, military forces raided the town of Aguilares, the parish of the murdered Father Rutilio Grande, killed dozens of people, desecrated the church and the eucharist, and deported the three remaining priests. The archbishop was not allowed to visit the parish, which remained occupied for days. By June 19, the parish buildings were once again in church hands, and Archbishop Romero was able to install a new parish team, consisting of a priest and three nuns. Thousands attended the installation Mass and heard the homily from which these selections are taken.”

(Copyright 2007 by Plough Publishing House. Used with permission.)

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