Romero Prayers in the face of Empire

[On the occasion of the Beatification of Oscar Romero, the Wine Before Breakfast community led a Eucharist in celebration of Blessed Oscar in partnership with the Church of the Redeemer in Toronto. These are the prayers written for that evening. Each petition is prefaced with a quote (in italics) from Archbishop Romero. Text in bold are community responses.]

Let us pray.

“The word of God is like the light of the sun.
It illuminates beautiful things,
but also things which we would rather not see.”

In the face of deceit,
you come as the Truth.

In a world of fleeting images,
you are the Word.

In the deep darkness,
you come as Light.

Open our eyes to the beauty.
Open our eyes to the pain.


“There are many things that can only be seen
through eyes that have cried.”

In the face of injustice,
tears of anger.

In a world of suffering,
tears of sorrow.

In the struggle,
tears of longing.

(silent and spoken prayers of lament)

How long, Lord?
How long will tears be our only food,
day and night?

“The Church would betray its own love for God
and its fidelity to the Gospel if it stopped being
a defender of the rights of the poor.”

In a church compromised,
we repent.

In a culture of indifference,
we repent.

For infidelity to the Gospel,
we repent.

(silent and spoken prayers for the church)

For the renewal of the church.
In your mercy, hear our prayer.

“When the church hears the cry of the oppressed
it cannot but denounce the social structures
that give rise to and perpetuate the misery from which the cry arises.”

When justice is turned to wormwood,
we will not comply.

When the poor are trampled,
we will not comply.

When laws oppress and do not liberate,
we will not comply.

(silent and spoken prayers for justice)

Hate evil and love good,
and establish justice in the land.

“As a Christian I do not believe in death without resurrection.
If they kill me I will rise again in people of El Salvador.”

In this culture of death,
we beg to differ.

In this culture of violence,
we beg to differ.

In the darkness of the grave,
we beg to differ.

(we name our dead out loud or in our own hearts)

Martyrs of the church, that great cloud of witnesses.

“Each one of you has to be God’s microphone.
Each one of you has to be a messenger, a prophet.”

When we are paralyzed by fear,
give us courage.

When the words are stuck in our throats,
give us a voice.

When we are overwhelmed,
give us hope.

In gratitude for blessed Oscar Romero,
a prophet in our age.

In the name of Jesus,
our liberator. Amen

Brian Walsh
Brian is an activist theologian, a retired CRC campus minister, the founder of the Wine Before Breakfast community, and farms with Sylvia Keesmaat at Russet House Farm.He engages issues of theology and culture, and has written a couple of books you might want to check out. His most recent offering is cowritten with Sylvia Keesmaat and entitled Romans Disarmed: Resisting Empire, Demanding Justice.

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