On all of our delegations that travel to El Salvador, we take the time to visit the Divina Providencia, run by the Carmelite nuns, and also the place where Oscar Romero lived and died. In a recent visit to the small house where Romero lived, one of the sisters in talking about Romero's homilies said: "People close to Monseñor used to say: "Be careful with what you say in your homilies!" And Monseñor would respond by saying that in preparing his homilies, he would write down everything that he was going to say, but as soon as he stood up there in front of all the people and the words starting coming out, it was different than what he had prepared. That to say that he felt that it was a power greater than him that was speaking." Here are some of those prophetic words:
"We have never preached violence, except the violence of love, which left Christ nailed to a cross, the violcen that we must each do to ourselves to overcome our selfishness and such cruel inequalities among us. The violence we preach is not the violence of the sword, the violence of hatred. It is the violence of love, of brotherhood, the violence that wills to beat weapons into sickles for work."
"I will not tire of declaring that if we really want an effective end to violence we must remove the violence that lies at the root of all violence: structural violence, social injustice, exclusion of citizens form the management of the country, repression. All this is what constitutes the primal cause, from which the rest flows naturally."
"This is the fundamental thought of my preaching: Nothing is so important to me as human life. Taking life is something so serious, so grave-- more than the violation of any other human right-- because such bloodshed only negates love, awakens new hatreds, makes reconciliation and peace impossible."
"There is one rule by which to judge if God is near us or is far away-- the rule that God's word is giving us today: everyone concerned for the hungry, the naked, the poor, for those who have vanished in police custody, for the tortured, for prisoners, for all flesh that suffers, has God close at hand."
"What good are beautiful highways and airports, beautiful buildings full of spacious apartments, if they are only put together with the blood of the poor, who are not going to enjoy them?"
"Peoples are free to choose the political system they want but not free to do whatever they feel like. They will have to be judged by God's justice in the political or social system they choose. God is the judge of all social systems. Neither the gospel or the church can be monopolized by any political or social movement."
"El Salvador's liberation need not mean so much bloodshed; there is still time. If we all bring to bear the goodwill to renounce material things and seek those of divine worth, we can certainly find the way. Naturally, there must be the courage to yield in regard to what has become an untouchable institution, one at the base of all forms of violence: institutionalized violence, the country's injustice."