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blue bits. red rocks.

saints

Whenever I revisit Romero, I am struck by how ordinary he was. Undoubtedly a man of talent, Romero was nonetheless an ordinary man striving to live out his principles as best he knew. What distinguishes him from many, perhaps, is that when he witnessed the crisis unfolding in his country, he did not succumb to the temptation to be a bystander. He did not shake his head in despair. Instead he listened to his conscience. Bravely he dared to walk a path which, though difficult, was the one he knew to be right. While the Salvadoran Civil War may have ended, death squads and torture and war are not only stories of the past. They are featured not only in headline-making places such as the Ukraine or Syria but also in the streets of North American cities. There poverty and inequality of opportunity continue to cause suffering for millions. I believe that no matter where a person is in his or her life, and no matter his or her location or profession, each can draw inspiration from Oscar Romero. Whether resisting large-scale global injustices by joining activist movements or working for greater justice in the local community … whether travelling to conflict-ridden areas or seeking to resolve conflict within the home, each is presented with the same call that Romero answered. Oscar Romero: A Tireless Seeker

Saints are often admired for what they did not have in this world– their lack of riches, of fame, of acceptance by the world. Celebrities, though, are often admired for what they have in this world– their large churches, their fame (christened as ‘influence’), their best-selling books or CDs, and perhaps even their houses and cars. Starstruck & Blind With Celebrity Worship

Jesus was truly free. His freedom was rooted in his spiritual awareness that he was the Beloved Child of God. He knew in the depth of his being that he belonged to God before he was born, that he was sent into the world to proclaim God’s love, and that he would return to God after his mission was fulfilled. This knowledge gave him the freedom to speak and act without having to please the world and the power to respond to people’s pains with the healing love of God. That’s why the Gospels say: “Everyone in the crowd was trying to touch him because power came out of him that cured them all” (Luke 6:19) Henri Nouwen

The myth of redemptive violence thus uses the traditions, rites, customs, and symbols of Christianity in order to enhance the power of a wealthy elite and the goals of the nation narrowly defined. It has no interest in compassion for the poor, or for more equitable economic arrangements, or for the love of enemies. It merely uses the shell of religion—a shell that can be filled with blasphemous doctrine of the national security state. Emptied of their prophetic vitality, these outer forms are then manipulated to legitimate a power system intent on the preservation of privilege at all costs. Walter Wink

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu walked by a construction site on a temporary sidewalk the width of one person. A white man appeared at the other end, recognized Tutu, and said, “I don’t make way for gorillas.” At which Tutu stepped aside, made a deep sweeping gesture, and said, “Ah, yes, but I do.” Walter Wink (via fuck-yeah-quotes)

The great paradox of life is that those who lose their lives will gain them. This paradox becomes visible in very ordinary situations. If we cling to our friends, we may lose them, but when we are nonpossessive in our relationships, we will make many friends. When fame is what we seek and desire, it often vanishes as soon as we acquire it, but when we have no need to be known, we might be remembered long after our deaths. When we want to be in the center, we easily end up on the margins, but when we are free enough to be wherever we must be, we find ourselves often in the center. Giving away our lives for others is the greatest of all human arts. This will gain us our lives. Henri Nouwen

Equality (outside mathematics) is a purely social conception. It applies to man as a political and economic animal. It has no place in the world of the mind. Beauty is not democratic; she reveals herself more to the few than to the many, more to the persistent and disciplined seekers than to the careless. Virtue is not democratic; she is achieved by those who pursue her more hotly than most men. Truth is not democratic; she demands special talents and special industry in those to whom she gives her favours. C.S. Lewis

The church has always had a problem of explaining its relationship to the world. By far the commonest view is the Noah’s Ark theory: The human race is out there bobbing around in the drink. Nobody can touch bottom; they all just tread water till they drown. Up over the horizon sails the Ark of Salvation. Much bustle. Cries of “Man overboard!” and “Heave to!” Apostles, Martyrs, Popes, Confessors, Bishops, Virgins and Widows lean over the sides with baptismal boat-hooks and haul the willing ones up over the gunwales. Assorted purblind types, however, refuse to come aboard. Sensible arguments are offered to them, but there are no takers. After a just interval, the Captain orders full speed ahead and, swamping the finally impenitent in his wake, heads the church for the ultimate snug harbor. The trouble with that view, and with many another more refined, is that it forces you to limit the Incarnate Word’s saving activity to the church. No doubt the church is the only place where you can be sure (by means of easily recognized sacramental hats) that you have a firm grip on what he’s doing; but it doesn’t seem right to imply that he isn’t doing the same work everywhere else. I, if I be lifted up, says Jesus, will draw all unto me. God invented the ecumenical movement–and his version of it is not limited to Christians. The relationship between the baptized and the unbaptized is not a case of us versus them. The church is like the rest of the sacraments, an effective sign — a notable outcropping — of what all people already are by the Word’s work of creation and Incarnation. The church is the mystical body because humanity is the mystical body. The only difference is that in church the Mystery wears a hat on its head. Robert Farrar Capon

The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I have often, both publicly and privately, advocated the wider use of birth control methods in order to reduce the illegitimacy rates and the consequences. It is my hope that state governments will begin to appropriate large sums to educate people to the need for such devices. Martin Luther King

Care is something other than cure. Cure means “change.” A doctor, a lawyer, a minister, a social worker-they all want to use their professional skills to bring about changes in people’s lives. They get paid for whatever kind of cure they can bring about. But cure, desirable as it may be, can easily become violent, manipulative, and even destructive if it does not grow out of care. Care is being with, crying out with, suffering with, feeling with. Care is compassion. It is claiming the truth that the other person is my brother or sister, human, mortal, vulnerable, like I am. When care is our first concern, cure can be received as a gift. Often we are not able to cure, but we are always able to care. To care is to be human. Henri Nouwen

We are still pacifists. Our manifesto is the Sermon on the Mount, which means that we will try to be peacemakers. Speaking for many of our conscientious objectors, we will not participate in armed warfare or in making munitions, or by buying government bonds to prosecute the war, or in urging others to these efforts. But neither will we be carping in our criticism. We love our country and we love our president. We have been the only country in the world where men and women of all nations have taken refuge from oppression. We recognize that while in the order of intention we have tried to stand for peace, for love of our brothers and sisters, in the order of execution we have failed as Americans in living up to our principles. Dorothy Day

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