Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Violence of Love


I was recently required to read The Violence of Love by Oscar Romero, one of the great liberation theologians of the 1970's, for my Contemporary Christian thought class. His thoughts have really helped guide my thoughts and I think they might help guide yours aswell. Here are some quotes from chapter 1:

"The Christian religion does not have a merely horizontal meaning, or a merely spiritualized meaning that overlooks the wrechedness that surrounds it. It is a looking at God, and from God at one's neighbor as a brother or sister, and an awareness that 'whatever you did to one of the least of these, you did to me.'" (p.1)

"We must learn this invitation of Christ: 'those who wish to come after me must renounce themselves.' Let them renounce themselves, renounce their comforts, renounce their personal opinions, and follow Christ, which can lead us to death but will surely also lead us to resurrection." (p.2-3)

"We have to try to bring out all that is good in each person and try to develop an atmosphere of trust, not with physical force, as though dealing with irrational beings, but with a moral force that draws out the good that is in everyone..." (p.3)

"The Christian must work to exclude sin and establish God's reign. To struggle for this is not communism. To struggle for this is not to mix in politics. It is simply that the gospel demands of today's Christian more commitment to history." (p.4)

"If instead of relying on human devices, people would rely on God and on His devices, we would have a world like the one the Church dreams of, a world without injustices, a world with respect for rights, a world with generouse participation by all, a world without repression, a world without torture."
(p.5)

"And so the Church values human beings and contends for their rights, for their freedom, for their dignity. That is an authentic Church endeavor. While human rights are violated, while their are arbtrary arrests, while there are tortures, the Church considers itself persecuted, it feels troubled, because the Church values human beings and cannot tolerate that an image of God be trampled by persons that become brutalized by trampling on others. The Church wants to make that image beautiful." (p.6)

"Let us not tire of preaching love, it is the force that will overcome the world. Let us not tire of preaching love. Though we see that waves of violence succeed in drowning the fire of Christian love, love must win out; it's the only thing that can." (p.7)

"Christianity is not a collection of truths to be believed, of laws to be
obeyed, of prohibitions. that makes it very distastful. Christianity is a
person, one who loved us so much, one who calls for our love. Christianity is Christ." (p.8-9)

"How beautiful will be the day when all the baptized understand that their
work, their job, is a priestly work, that just as I celebrate Mass at
this altar, so each carpenter celebrates mass at his workbench, and each
metalworker, and each professional, each doctor with a scalpel, the market woman
at her stand, is performing a priestly office! How many cabdrivers, I kow,
listen to this message there in their cabs; you are a priest at the wheel, my
friend
, if you work with honesty, consecrating that taxi of yours to God,
bearing a message of peace and love to all the passengers who ride in your cab." (p.11)

"We have never preached violence except the violence of love, which left
Christ nailed to a cross... the violence that wills to beat weapons into sickles for work." (p.12)

"We human beings cannot produce our land's liberation... But if we hope for a
liberation to come from Christ, the redeemer, then we can. This is the Church's hope." (p.15)

"Three short years transformed Archbishop Oscar Romero from a conservative defender of the status quo into one of the Church's most outspoken voices on behalf of the oppressed. Though silenced by an assassin's bullet, his spirit- and the vital challenge of his life- lives on." (the back of the book)

5 comments:

KJKEB said...

Great post. I am not aware of the book that you read. But,it sounds fascinating.

I am new to blogging and found your blog by following a link from Maryellen's "To Everything a Time" blog.

I would welcome a visit and comments from you on my blog.

~Kevin

WES ELLIS said...

Thanks Kevin, for stopping by. If you're interested in the book there's a link to amazon.com featured on my post. just click on the title of the book in the post.

Inheritor of Heaven said...

Thanks much for this post Wes. I am going to have to read that one. Your selected quotes are right on the money. The cabdriver one sounds rather like Luther on the topic of Christians and their "regular job" and being the "priesthood of believers".

WES ELLIS said...

inheritor,
Yes it also sounds a bit like another Luther; Martin Luther Kinbg Jr. He says to the street sweeper, "sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to stop and say 'here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well" "no matter how small one thinks his life's work is... it has cosmic significance if he is serving humanity and doing the will of God." (measure of a man p.42)

Ashley said...

Wow! What an amazing man. I am anxious to read more of his work and about his life.