The ‘Romero Prayer’

My Lenten “black book” informs me that on this day 29 years ago, Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador was murdered by gunshot while celebrating Mass in a small chapel in a cancer hospital.

The prayer below is oftentimes attributed to him, though it seems he never wrote it. It was actually written by Bishop Ken Untener, before he was a bishop. He worked in the chancery, and wrote out a homily for Cardinal Dearden to preach at the annual Mass for deceased priests.

Doesn’t matter so much who wrote it. I like it!

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.
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.
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.


One thought on “The ‘Romero Prayer’

  1. Mike:
    It's funny you mentioned him since we'll be talking about him during Confirmation classes this week. The movie we watched about him was really go too!


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