"It helps now and then to step back and take the long view" - wise words from Archbishop Oscar Romero. The Archbishop served the people of El Salvador and was assassinated in 1980 while he was saying mass in San Salvador.
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a 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 includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that. 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.
(For those of you coming from the Oscar Romero Resource Page at Resources for Catholic Educators, click here for a page that contains all the Romero quotes I've written about)
Update: Thanks to Matt for pointing out that this prayer was written by someone else(!) From the March 28 2004 National Catholic Reporter:
Wednesday was the anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero. For the reflection that day, Bishop Untener included a passage titled "The mystery of the Romero Prayer." The mystery is that the words of the prayer are attributed to Oscar Romero, but they were never spoken by him. They were, in fact, spoken by John Cardinal Dearden in November of 1979. They come from a homily he gave at a Mass for deceased priests. But what is even more important to know is that they were words drafted for Cardinal Dearden by Ken Untener. They are really his words, and they show us an insight that I think is very important.