Today, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the martyrdom of our brother, friend, teacher and companion Saint Óscar Arnulfo Romero. I begin this Romero Day watching the sun rise above our mountains in Chalatenango. In the silence of the early morning, I can hear the scripture passage,

“Be still and know I am God.” 

I imagine Romero in a jail cell, alone, crying out to heaven, “Where are you?”

I imagine Romero as he implored, begged, demanded from the soldiers and politicians of his day, “Stop the repression.” They never listened.

I Imagine Romero falling to his knees, rosary in hand, praying for El Salvador, praying that all of us would not use war or our own suffering as a pretext to harden our hearts.

I imagine Romero smiling as he walked through the communities of Chalatenango, with each encounter of sister or brother being evangelized by their faith and inspired by their love. I imagine that despite the suffering, hatred and death around him, he felt compassion, even for the “enemy”.

I imagine Romero sitting before the Blessed Sacrament in silence, trusting in the spirit of God.

I imagine Romero standing behind the altar as he looked at the gunmen eye to eye knowing that  death would soon be near. I imagine that moment, in fear, yet he does not hide. Did he know his blood would be united with Christ, crucified only to become the ferment of a new society?

So here we are, like you and so many around the world in isolation. Isolation? Are we not all together in a collective effort to heal the world? Isolation? Isn’t the love of God and neighbor accompanying us in all things?

Are we not all inspired to change our lives, to not only only heal from a virus and economic hardship, but to finally rid our souls of anger, violence, prejudice, despair, intolerance, selfishness and hatred? 

Are we not all accepting this invitation to make our hearts grow in faith, to cultivate the love of God and neighbor in ways we have yet to imagine. Is the world not being transformed into one community? Are we not realizing how fragile we truly are?|

Opportunity abounds.

This morning, listen to the voice of Romero, “Harden not your hearts”. Let us take this time, in our collective worldwide retreat, to listen to our souls (and not just CNN) to slow down, to allow love to replace all fear and doubt.

Let the spirit of God fill us.

We will all recover. Let us not look back, but let us begin to imagine a new world. Let us all join Romero today in love. Today, March 24 - Romero Day, let us turn off devices for one moment. Go outside and imagine Romero and hear in silence, hear that psalm (46:10), “Be still and know I am God.”

Our new life is just beginning. 

May Romero and Our Lady intercede for all us around the world.

With love,
John Guiliano and the Tamarindo Community