Not our own…


Prophets Of A Future Not Our Own

Oscar Romero

It helps now and then to step back and take a long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.We accomplish in our lifetime only a fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of
saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession
brings perfection, no pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives include everything.
This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one
day will grow. We water the seeds already planted
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects
far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of
liberation in realizing this.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning,
a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s
grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the
difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not
messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.
— Archbishop Oscar Romero (martyred on March 24th 1980)

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  1. August 14, 2007 at 5:47 pm — Reply

    That is beautiful. Thank you for posting it.

  2. Kristin
    August 15, 2007 at 9:27 am — Reply

    I love this!

  3. August 15, 2007 at 11:49 am — Reply

    What are we to do with the poorly conceived and improperly constructed foundations of the past? And how do we build today so that our children are not required to tear our work down?

  4. August 15, 2007 at 12:00 pm — Reply

    Jared, welcome to the Todd Blog.

    The things that are broken should be examined and fixed if possible, discarded if not. The things that are poorly conceived should be replaced with better-conceived things. We should not try to press on as if everything is fine – we should innovate and recreate.

    As for the future – we must do our best to ensure that we instill the value of innovation and progress into our children because there is a good chance that what is so well-conceived and -constructed today, won’t be tomorrow. They must be able to adapt and create new methods that will build off our future-faulty foundations.

  5. Megan
    August 15, 2007 at 12:18 pm — Reply

    The whole idea of this poem is something that we have to realize if we are involved in ministry. One plants, one waters, but it is God that makes it grow. I think that it is really easy toget bogged down in Kingdom work if we forget that God is the whole master behind the work. In truth, he can get his work done just fine without me. And also, it isn’t, “Lord, what plan toyou have for me?” It’s, “Lord, how can I fit into your plan?” The Master only has one plan.
    Thanks for the thoughts.

  6. August 15, 2007 at 4:08 pm — Reply

    When you have time and we’re in the same city we should talk about Oscar. I got to go to El Salvador and see where he was martyred. (Shot during mass.) And got to talk to a government official and lots of locals about how they saw him. Fascinating.

    They say he was friends with the man who held his position before him in the Church. That friend was taking a stand against injustice and for the poor. Oscar was wealthy and lectured his friend against that stand and argued for a more reasoned diplomatic waiting for change. When that friend was killed, Oscar was appointed, the thought being he’d take the side of the government and not the poor. He had a rep for being moderate and obeying the authorities.

    They had no idea what they were unleashing.

  7. August 15, 2007 at 4:13 pm — Reply

    I was linked to this poem through a McLaren interview and did a little research about Romero after I read it. His tale is incredible.

    I like how you said “when we’re in the same city” – I’m sad (but completely understand) that you won’t be back in Wichita anytime soon!

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Not our own…