Abp Oscar Romero’s prayer/poem

A Future Not Our Own (The Long View) is a prayer/poem of Archbishop Oscar Romero which holds great truths of the Christian faith and continues to nurture my discipleship. It weaves together encouragement, comfort and faith in God.

We were living in Argentina during its “Dirty War” when Archbishop Oscar Romero, the Champion of the Poor and Oppressed in El Salvador, was murdered while celebrating Mass because he stood for Christ’s justice and mercy.

A Future Not Our Own (also known as ‘The Long View’)

It helps, now and then, to step back
and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is 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 another 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 programme accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about:
We plant 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 effects 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 God’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.

The prayer holds truth for the Archbishop’s own life: in his murder, his future was not his own. It is also true that in my life Oscar Romero’s life “water(ed) seeds already planted”. I thank God for Archbishop Oscar Romero.

May the Holy Spirit nurture our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as we enter Holy Week.

A well set out version for printing is found at A Future Not Our Own.

Also my fuller reflection on the 30th anniversary year, 2010, of his assassination, Archbishop Romero: Easter Faith.

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