“Each one of you has to be God’s microphone. Each one of you has to be a messenger, a prophet. The church will always exist as long as there is someone who has been baptized…Where is your baptism? You are baptized in your professions, in the fields of workers, in the market. Wherever there is someone who has been baptized, that is where the church is. There is a prophet there.” – Blessed Oscar Romero
“[A]nd you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” – Saint Paul (2 Corinthians 3.3)
Oscar Romero was beatified yesterday.
One of the most memorable and joyful things I’ve ever done was leading a prayer service – with my guitar in hand – in the place where he was martyred. He is one of my heroes and one of a handful of people who moved me toward Catholicism. (Among that group is this website’s namesake!)
Romero is one of those standout disciples: A microphone of God in every sense of the phrase. His pastoral and prophetic voice was restorative to those who suffered in El Salvador and abrasive to those who inflicted that suffering. He ‘comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable’ – and the latter cost him his life.
But Blessed Romero reminds us that we have all been baptized to amplify the voice of God in the world. We are the transistors. We are a letter of Christ.
To be sure, we are not all called to the ministry of Archbishop Romero. I imagine he would say that his ministry was less important than the ministry of the baptized in the fields, markets, and homes. Ordinary, everyday, workplace, domestic discipleship is the front line.
Working in a parish offers me the privilege of walking side by side with some of the most heroic and faithful people I have encountered. These people do not have a platform or a pulpit. They are those who in the midst of tragedy, pain, and the hard daily grind of providing for their family, persevere in faith and give more than they receive.
“There are many things that can only be seen through eyes that have cried” – Blessed Oscar Romero
Working in pastoral care, I get to hear stories of faith that move me and challenge me to live more faithfully. When a couple who lost their son to an automobile accident while driving home from college are sitting in the pews the next Sunday because “we must continue to thank God for the years we had with him” or when a cancer patient tells me that even though she has only a few months to live, she still has joy and much to be thankful for – I am privileged to see what it truly means to be God’s microphone. They, too, are my heroes. They are prophets indeed.
To me, these stories are every bit as important and every bit as world-shaking as our hopefully soon to be saint from El Salvador.
So as we all strive to live the baptismal call in our everyday, ordinary lives, we ask you, Blessed Oscar Romero, to pray for us.