When the Gospel Gets Under Your Skin

Saints are made by how they live,

Saints are made by how they live, not how they die. In March and April, the people’s church remembers two saints: El Salvador’s Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero and Germany’s Lutheran pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. While their deaths were "spectacular" - Romero gunned down while saying Mass and Bonhoeffer hanged in a Nazi concentration camp - it is their lives, not their deaths, that teach us about Christian faith.

This year, the date of Romero’s assassination falls on Holy Thursday. As Jesus knelt to wash the feet of his disciples in an act of revolutionary humility, I imagine the many times Romero knelt. Praying as a teenager for his vocation, which prompted him to leave the carpenter shop and go to seminary. Prostrating himself before a bishop at his ordination in Rome on April 4, 1942. Romero’s doctoral degree was in ascetical theology. He wanted to be holy. I imagine him kneeling before a statue of the Virgin with a rosary in his hand.

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Sojourners Magazine April 2005
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